As the largest private sector employer in the country that supports jobs in every city, town and village in the country I understand the importance of the retail sector.
The Retail Consultation Forum (RCF), which I chair, was established in 2014 to provide a platform for engagement between retail representative bodies, retailers and the public sector on key concerns for the retail sector.
The Retail Consultation Forum enables key issues affecting the retail sector to be discussed, with a view to identifying practical actions which could be taken by Government, or by industry itself, to support sustainable jobs growth in the sector.
Brexit has been a standing item on the agenda for the Retail Consultation Forum (RCF) since 2016.
The Government’s suite of Brexit supports include preparedness vouchers, consultancy and mentoring supports, tariff advisory services, research on new markets and innovation supports through Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and InterTrade Ireland. Support and advice is also available from the National Standards Authority of Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority, Revenue, Skillnet Ireland, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, Bord Bia and Failte Ireland.
As set out in the Government’s Contingency Action Plan Update (July 2019), the Government has made provision on a precautionary basis for two changes to the operation of the Vat Retail Export Scheme in the Brexit Omnibus Act. This is a contingency measure as it is anticipated that a solution to such matters will form part of a future relationship agreement between the EU and the UK.
The Retail Export Scheme is under the aegis of the Department of Finance, and to date has not been discussed at the Retail Consultation Forum.
I will continue to engage with the retail sector in their preparation for Brexit through the Retail Consultation Forum.