Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Retail planning guidelines in the North must mirror those in the South

26 January, 2009

During todays cross party meeting between the Oireachtas Enterprise, Trade and Employment Committee and Assembly Ministers in Belfast Sinn Féin's Enterprise Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD called on the DUP and the SDLP to support his party's proposals for the north to mirror the south's retail store planning guidelines by introducing a cap on superstore development.

The Louth TD said:

"The cap of 3,000 square meters for towns and the condition that retail development be located in town centres has ensured the sustainable development of local economies in rural Ireland. We now need a similar cap introduced in the north to ensure that small and medium sized towns are protected from developments of superstores outside of towns.

"Last September the Competition Authority stated that these existing guidelines impeded competition, a proposition that Sinn Féin has roundly rejected. The government needs to shift its culture of an over emphasis on supporting big businesses in the export and retail sector and begin to fully support small to medium sized indigenous businesses.

"Arguably removing the cap from retail development is an anti competitive move as to do so would give large retail outlets an advantage that smaller Irish owned outlets cannot sustain. This 'competitive' policy squeezes out smaller outlets and leaves rural Ireland vulnerable to mass job losses.

"The government needs to start planning for the next generation of jobs that will underpin the economy. This means a shift in attitude and a new emphasis on supports and promotion of SMEs. Government also needs to start warming to an all-island approach to the economy. We simply cannot afford to continue with two competing economies located on a small island." ENDS

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