Bira welcomes latest emergency measures to help small businesses through coronavirus crisis

The Government’s £350 billion bailout of the UK economy in response to coronavirus has been welcomed by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).

However, Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre says the funds must be made available immediately to stop the collapse of many small independent retailers already seeing reduced trade.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the enhanced packaged of emergency measures last night (Tuesday March 17). These include:

-Business rates abolished for all retailers for 2020/21 (previously it was just for businesses below £51,000 rateable value.) It is worth approximately £7.9 billion in savings for retailers;

-Cash grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for smaller retailers (below £51,000 RV);

-Further availability of business interruption loans.

Bira ceo Andrew Goodacre said: “We are pleased with these further announcements by the Government. Following on from the Budget, we stated that more support was needed for small retailers and the Government has now shown it was listening to Bira.

“The rates holiday for all retailers is worth approximately £7.9 billion and that is very welcome. The higher grants and business interruption loans will also help maintain cash flow.

“It is really important now that the details of how to apply for these grants is made available as soon as possible, as we are already seeing the impact of the latest Government guidance with lower footfall and some businesses closing.”

He added: “And even though all this is in the news, some members have informed us that local authorities are not helping and claiming not to know about this extra support. That situation must also be addressed to avoid confusion and frustration.”

Bira is calling for the new latest rates relief measures to be extended to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the decision to do so is devolved.

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