Category: Antrim

Reference Library – Northern Ireland – Antrim Broadband

Newsround: what Tuesday’s papers say 0

Newsround: what Tuesday’s papers say

Rollout of high-speed rural broadband delayed and six counties have one ambulance on duty The top stories in Tuesday’s newspapers: THE IRISH TIMES – The paper reports that Minister for Communications Denis Naughten has signalled a further delay to the National Broadband Plan, which was first promised in 2012, by at least a year. The plan to equip 542,000 rural homes and businesses with high-speed broadband has been beset with problems and delays, it says. – It also reports that the government was last night forced into emergency talks in an effort to head off an Opposition challenge on proposed new waste charges. The pay-by-weight arrangements announced by Naughten last week would be the “next big political battleground after water charges”, a senior government source warned. – The government is considering introducing steep rises in property tax on vacant properties and using the proceeds to cut income tax or build more homes, the paper says.

Property tax could be as much as doubled for owners of vacant homes situated in areas of the country where there is high demand for housing. – In its business section, the paper reports that BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager with $5.4 trillion of assets under management, is considering Dublin among a shortlist of potential European cities to set up a post-Brexit EU base.

Dublin is believed to be competing against Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

NI firms identify growth boosts 0

NI firms identify growth boosts

Emma Gribben, Lisa McCaul and Tom Griffiths Less tax, a better political environment and faster broadband would be among the biggest boosts to the growth prospects of Northern Ireland’s small businesses, according to new research. Ulster Bank’s Boost Index has researched the growth performance of companies across the country with between five and 50 employees across a range of sectors. The study found that 46 per cent had increased sales over the past 12 months, while revenue for a further 44 per cent had remained stable.

Meanwhile, 21 per cent said that they are experiencing moderate growth, with 31 per cent enjoying slight growth. Just 1 per cent of respondents are undergoing rapid growth. Exporting appears to be the biggest opportunity for small business, with 7 per cent of those surveyed currently selling outside of the UK and Ireland.

A further 31 per cent are selling into the Republic of Ireland and 18 per cent are doing so into England, Scotland or Wales. Competition in the market (78 per cent), the potential impact of Brexit (62 per cent), a perceived lack of political stability in Northern Ireland (61 per cent) and cost pressures (60 per cent) are considered to be the major obstacles to growth. Regarding the biggest potential boosts to growth prospects, 65 per cent of respondents agreed that less tax would be of benefit, 33 per cent pointed to a better political environment and 29 per cent felt that faster broadband would be of significant assistance.

Lisa McCaul, business growth enabler at Ulster Bank, said: “This piece of research helps us understand where businesses are in terms of their growth trajectory and the challenges that they perceive to future growth. “This will be useful insights as we seek to help small firms grow sustainably. “Of particular interest are the insights around exporting.

There is often a perception amongst small businesses that exporting is not for them, it is for larger businesses.

But the reality is that exporting doesn’t have to be complicated and could simply mean increasing sales a few percent by selling some product overseas online. “Boost is designed to help small firms recognise and capitalise on those growth opportunities.”

Business leaders welcome £1bn financial support package after Tory-DUP deal 0

Business leaders welcome £1bn financial support package after Tory-DUP deal

Business leaders welcome £1bn financial support package after Tory-DUP deal Northern Ireland’s business leaders have welcomed the financial support package agreed by the DUP to support Theresa May’s minority Conservative government. Email 1 Northern Ireland’s business leaders have welcomed the financial support package agreed by the DUP to support Theresa May’s minority Conservative government. The package includes £1bn of new funding for infrastructure, health and education spending, along with enhanced flexibility on almost £500m of previously allocated cash.

A total of £400m over two years has been earmarked for infrastructure projects, including the York Street Interchange designed to ease traffic congestion in Belfast. The deal also includes £150m to provide ultra-fast broadband across Northern Ireland. There will also be further consultation on VAT and Air Passenger Duty tax, along with a commitment to devolve Corporation tax to Stormont, with a revised timetable for its introduction.

A number of so-called city deals and Enterprise Zones are also due to be created as part of the deal. “There is much in this agreement that business will welcome”, Trevor Lockhart, CBI Northern Ireland Vice-Chair commented. “In particular, the delivery of the York Street Interchange has long been a key infrastructure priority for local firms from across Northern Ireland, not just those based in Belfast. The continued support for the devolution of corporation tax, plus commitment to examine options for implementation in the Autumn Budget, will be similarity welcomed.” “However, while businesses will welcome the economic commitments laid out in this document, the number one priority for firms in Northern Ireland remains getting the Executive back up and running before the end of June. Against the backdrop of Brexit, and its specific impact on this region, we can’t afford any more delays.” NI Chamber also welcomed the commitment to devolve Corporation Tax powers to Northern Ireland. “This, alongside the establishment of City Deals, will prove attractive to investors,” Ann McGregor, Chief Executive of NI Chamber, said. “Road schemes such as the York Street Interchange will do much to ease congestion on heavily trafficked roads in the region, helping businesses to move products and goods more efficiently and in the process reduce costs”, she added.

We need the Northern Ireland Executive to reform, to agree a final Programme for Government, an economic strategy, and to establish a single Northern Ireland action plan on Brexit which will address key business concerns. Ann McGregor, NI Chamber The Federation of Small Businesses hailed the DUP/Conservative deal as a “starting point for progress”, adding it is now “vital” that agreement is reached to restore the Northern Ireland Executive. Roger Pollen, FSB Northern Ireland’s Head of External Affairs, said: “FSB welcomes the positive implications of the deal for infrastructure and jobs, but will now be calling on the local parties to engage to restore the institutions that will let Northern Ireland capitalise on this new-found investment.” Retailers have also urged Stormont leaders to restore the executive following the announcement of the DUP-Tory deal.

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “This deal ensures that we will see the delivery of the long awaited York Street Interchange and hopefully A5, A6 and other key infrastructure projects” “Retail NI has long campaigned for City Deals and more Enterprise Zones and we are pleased that they included in this deal”. “With such a generous package now agreed, it is now vital that the political parties conclude a deal to restore an Executive and start to deliver real economic change for Northern Ireland.” Belfast Telegraph Digital References ^ Email (