Connect with us

Business

Highlighting 10X Economy Vision and Review of Agri-Food Sector

Minister Diane Dodds is greeted by Finnebrogue Artisan’s Chief Strategic Officer Jago Pearson at the firm’s headquarters

Northern Ireland must capitalise on the innovation that exists in all sectors of our economy.

That was the message from Economy Minister Diane Dodds on a visit to food production company Finnebrogue Artisan. The Downpatrick-based business has been recognised for its advanced high-speed methods in producing premium meat and vegetarian products.

The Minister had a tour of the company’s main processing factory and held discussions with Chief Strategy Officer Jago Pearson and his team.

Speaking afterwards, the Minister said: “Increasing innovation is vital component of 10X Economy: An Economic Vision, which is our plan to transform Northern Ireland into one of the world’s elite small economies.  It was very useful to visit Finnebrogue and see a Northern Ireland company which is synonymous with vision and innovation for its advanced high-speed methods which produce fantastic local food.”

The Minister added: “Recently, the DAERA Minister and I announced an independent strategic review into the future of the agri-food sector which will be led by former National Farmers’ Union President Sir Peter Kendall. While we want to look at the challenges facing our food processing and primary agriculture industries, we are also very aware that Northern Ireland is famous for innovation and invention in this sector too. The review team has launched a call for evidence and I am sure Northern Ireland companies which have pioneered new techniques and new products will have much to contribute to this review.”

She went on to say that the review team is also wanting to hear from individual agri-food businesses in all sectors, and their representative bodies, and from environmental stakeholders, academic and educational institutions, civil society and political groups.

The Minister also took the opportunity to express her condolences on the recent passing of Finnebrogue founder Denis Lynn.

Business

Murphy Announces Business Rates Revaluation

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has today announced a revaluation of all 74,750 non-domestic properties, delivering on his commitment for more frequent revaluations here.

Known as ‘Reval2023’, this process will result in a new non-domestic Valuation List being used to calculate business rate bills from April 2023.

Announcing the revaluation, Minister Murphy said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the economy resulting in changes between business sectors and this will feed through to changes to the rental values of many properties.

“Although the last revaluation was just over a year ago in 2020, I have asked Land & Property Services to bring forward another revaluation in the shortest possible time.

“Reval2023 will maintain fairness and ensure businesses are paying rates which take account of the impact of the pandemic.”

Commenting on support provided to businesses, Minister Murphy added: “Since April 2020, I have provided over £500 million of additional business rates support, with many businesses paying no rates at all over two years. The Executive has also provided significant financial support to businesses in the form of grants.

“As we look ahead to economic recovery and given the large scale of a revaluation it is important this work gets underway now.”

Business rates are charged on most non-domestic premises including shops, offices, warehouses, factories, hotels and pubs as well as utilities such as gas, water, electricity and wind farms.

Land & Property Services will begin collecting property information from business ratepayers later this year. This important information will form a database of new rental values as at 1 October 2021, instead of the current 2018 values, and will be used in assessing new rateable values for every property.

Continue Reading

Business

Town and City Centre Investment Helping Thousands of Businesses in Their Recovery

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured with Bryan Graham of Graham’s of Enniskillen who availed of Covid-19 Revitalise funding for his business to purchase new sanitizing stations and protective screens.

A £19.3million funding programme to support town and city centres recover from the impact of Covid-19 has helped thousands of businesses across councils, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has said. 

Launched in August 2020, initial funding for the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme was for measures such as shop frontage and awnings/canopies; outdoor furniture; heaters and queueing systems. More recently the funding support longer term initiatives such as the creation of cycle paths and pedestrian walkways to encourage car-free shopping, small environmental improvements and the use of open space and vacant premises to provide safe facilities.

Total funding for the scheme was made up of £12million from the Department for Communities, £5million from the Department for Infrastructure and £2.3million from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

Speaking after visiting business in Enniskillen who availed of the funding Minister Hargey said: “The Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme is an excellent example of collaborative working and was created to help and support our urban and rural businesses deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic. In total the funding has supported over 3,000 businesses across the north which has helped them to reopen safely. The funding has also been used to encourage people back into our towns and city centres to spend time, to support our local businesses and ultimately to help keep our town and city centres alive and prosperous.

“It has delivered funding of £1.29million to Fermanagh & Omagh District Council to support a range of projects including grants to support businesses across the entire Council area as they prepared a pathway out of lockdown by assisting them to provide a safer shopping experience for all their customers. I was pleased to see at first hand today how some of this support has been received by businesses in Enniskillen.”

Cllr. Chris McCaffrey (Vice Chairperson) Fermanagh & Omagh District Council added: “Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is committed to working in partnership to improve the lives of all the people of the district and this approach has delivered tangible benefits making the district an attractive place to live, work and visit.    

The Council has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Department for Communities over a number of years and it is a partnership we look forward to continuing to develop into the future for the benefit of our businesses and the wider community.   

The £1.2million funding through the Covid-19 Business Recovery and Revitalisation Grant Aid Scheme has been used to support businesses to respond to the impacts of the Covid-19 health pandemic, to encourage people to support local to aid economic recovery and to deliver schemes which will promote and revitalise our town centres.  

The Council will continue to work with the Department for Communities and other partners to provide assistance to local businesses and aid the recovery of the district into the future.”

Continue Reading