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Bira calls for more help for high street

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is asking the Government for new measures to protect high street traders, including cookshops and housewares stockists.

The plea follows recent data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC)and the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) that illuminate the slow rate of high street recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

Bira’s proposals would help to mitigate the impacts of further local or national lockdowns. The association wants the Government to confirm that business rates will not be reintroduced in April 2021 (now backed by the mayor of London – see below).

The association is also suggesting the implementation of a voucher scheme, similar to the Eat Out to Help Out initiative, in the run up to Christmas. It also wants more support for retailers looking to launch or expand their online presence.

Above: The Eat Out to Help Out encouraged footfall to high streets and shopping areas with participating cafes and restaurants in August. Bira is proposing a scheme to boost trade in physical retail stores in the run-up to Christmas.
Above: The Eat Out to Help Out encouraged footfall to high streets and shopping areas with participating cafes and restaurants in August. Bira is proposing a scheme to boost trade in physical retail stores in the run-up to Christmas.

Meanwhile Bira is advising its members (and other retailers) to pull out the stops when it comes to making consumers feel safe inside shops, highlighting their safety measures and high levels of reassuring, personal service.
Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s ceo commented: “The evidence suggests that retail is not a catalyst for spreading the disease. I want to remind people shopping is safe and that retailers have safety measures in place.”

* Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on the Government to extend the rates holiday into the 2021/22 financial year. Sadiq made a joint submission to the Government’s business rates review along with local London councils. He voiced concerns that an end to the business rates holiday will lead to mass unemployment. Bira has welcomed the added pressure for its campaign.

 

Top: A busy shopping street in York this summer. Bira wants more consumers to feel reassured that they can shop safely in physical stores, and is calling for more Government support for retailers.

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