Our team has summarised the key developments for NI businesses in the news this week.
A £70 million investment fund for small businesses in Northern Ireland has been announced by the British Business Bank - The fund will offer a range of commercial finance options with loans and equity stakes both available for local entrepreneurs. By increasing the supply and diversity of early-stage finance for smaller businesses, the new fund aims to tackle an identified funding gap throughout Northern Ireland. It will support businesses from all sectors in Northern Ireland and at different stages of their growth journey, and aims to target start-ups that may have struggled to access finance elsewhere. (Source: Evening Standard)
The creamery in Banbridge, which has been a major employer in the town for nearly a century, will be permanently closed from next June as part of "operational changes" by its owner Lakeland Dairies. (Source: Irish News)
Irish retailer EZ Living Furniture has secured planning approval to build a new £5 million flagship store on Belfast’s Boucher Road, despite facing opposition from UK furniture giant DFS. (Source: Belfast Telegraph)
The new owners of Belfast’s Forestside shopping centre are pressing ahead with plans for a 'food village' after submitting an application to build a fourth new restaurant at the site. (Source: Irish News)
Law firm McKees creates 10 jobs with opening of Enniskillen office. (Source: Irish News)
Addressing the deluge of holiday pay claims in Northern Ireland in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling could take up to 14 years, the president of the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal has warned - In a memo sent to the tribunal’s users group, Mr Noel Kelly said there are currently 190,229 holiday pay claims in Northern Ireland, from around 13,000 individual claimants. The letter was sent following the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to dismiss the PSNI’s appeal in the Agnew case. The PSNI had appealed a 2019 Court of Appeal ruling to uphold a tribunal decision that officers and civilian staff were owed for a holiday pay shortfall dating back to 1998. Legal experts said the ruling is significant for employers who did not increase holiday pay in response to various European Court of Justice decisions. (Source: Irish News)
Strong half year results at Kainos Group - In the six months to 30 September 2023 revenue at Kainos climbed by 7 per cent to £193.2m, while pre-tax profit rose from £27.5m to £30.9m. (Source: Insider Media)
Rishi Sunak has hinted at business tax cuts to boost economic growth as he promised to reduce the tax burden “carefully and sustainably” - The Prime Minister declined to give any specifics ahead of Wednesday’s autumn statement, but stressed that the focus is “very much the supply side” of the economy in a signal that business tax cuts are more likely than personal ones. (Source: The Guardian)
A major new enterprise support service for Northern Ireland - ‘Go Succeed’ - has launched, representing an investment of £17m in the local economy by the UK government through its Levelling Up Fund - Go Succeed represents is set up to help entrepreneurs, new starts and existing businesses across Northern Ireland. Led by Northern Ireland’s 11 local councils, the service will deliver flexible support to service users, including mentoring, masterclasses, peer networks, access to grant funding and a business plan. (Source: Insider Media)
Derry-based cyber security awareness training firm MetaCompliance has made a key acquisition in Germany - The company, founded in 2005 and with a staff of more than 120, has bought Increase Your Skills GmbH (IYS), a fast-growing cyber security awareness training business based in Leipzig. (Source: Irish News)
The average house price in Northern Ireland increased 3.1% to £179,530 between the second and third quarters of 2023 amid a slump in new build properties coming on the market. (Source: Irish News)
Consumer Prices Index inflation was 4.6% in October, down from 6.7% in September, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. (Source: Shropshire Star)
The official measure of unemployment in Northern Ireland fell to a record low of 2.1% in the three months to September, new government figures suggest. (Source: Irish News)
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