Finance Minister Sammy Wilson wasn’t short of conversation when he met with retailers during a visit to Limavady on Wednesday, where he embarked on a walkabout around the main shopping area.
In town to see how small businesses were coping, he spoke about the Small Business Rates Relief Scheme which, he said, 1,900 businesses in the Derry and Limavady areas had benefited from since its extension in April.
“I welcome the opportunity to hear the views of traders and the concerns that many have, here in Limavady. While the downturn has impacted on all sectors some have fared better than others during that period and I know that small businesses in particular are struggling.” He added: “I am very encouraged by this visit and being able to see at first hand the first success of this new scheme. This is exactly the sort of local business we want to help.”
During his trip, Mr Wilson assured business leaders in the North West of his determination to promote economic growth. He was quizzed on the Programme for Government as well as on progress regarding proposals to assist local retail and other businesses, expand higher education, improve transport links and reduce corporation tax.
Minister Wilson said the principal goal in the Programme for Government, alongside the Economic Strategy, is to “put us firmly on the road to economic recovery.” However, he called for all stakeholders to “play their part” in bringing the North out of tough financial times.
Philip Kingston, president of the Roe Valley Chamber of Trade said: “It’s good news to hear the minister say he wants to help but, with all things, and as I have said before, we will judge people on their actions rather than their words, but it’s very good to have the minister here to give him an opportunity to look around the town and see what’s positive about it, and to hear from ordinary people and businesses about what’s positive and what needs to be done. By coming here and hearing that message personally we have a better chance of getting action on it.”