An EU backed Town Centre Taskforce for Northern Ireland is among the demands contained in a five point plan launched today by the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA).
Local European Parliament candidates Jim Nicholson, Anna Lo, Alex Attwood, Diane Dodds, Tina McKenzie and Ross Brown attended the launch in Ballyhackamore.
“We are publishing our EU Five Point Plan because retail makes a huge contribution to the economy of the EU employing over 33 million people and producing more than 11 per cent of GDP,” said NIIRTA chief executive Glyn Roberts.
“In Northern Ireland it is the largest part of our local private sector, employing one in 10 local jobs.”
Given that Northern Ireland currently has twice the UK shop vacancy rate, he said one of the main aims was the establishment of an EU Town Centre Taskforce.
“This taskforce would examine new ways of harnessing funding local Town Centre Regeneration and identifyinggood policy practice in other EU towns and cities which have successfully addressed dereliction and returned to vibrancy.”
“The new URBACT III is one funding stream which promotes sustainable urban development which should be a top priority for our three MEPs”
“We also want a reduction in the numbers of European Commissioners and the appointment of a Commissioner for Small Business and Better Regulation, capable of strong resolute action in addressing red tape and the EUs’ 23 mullion SMEs”