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Bira on the Budget

Representing independent cookshops and housewares retailers, Bira (British Independent Retailers Association) has welcomed many of the measures announced in the Budget (March 3).

Above: Andrew Goodacre of Bira.
Above: Andrew Goodacre of Bira.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira ceo said: “We broadly welcome the announcements for smaller retailers in the Budget; restart grants, recovery loans, furlough scheme and reduced business rates.”

He elaborated: “A reduction in business rates for 2021/22 is welcome but we strongly believe that the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to go one step further by not giving a full year of relief to non-essential retailers. This has been done in Scotland, and such a decision in England would only have cost approx. £1bn to give genuine reassurance to thousands of retailers looking to re-build their business.

“Also we need an extension of the rent moratorium so that businesses can look forward to making the most of the support being made available by the Government.”

However, Andrew added: “These measures are certainly something that indie retailers can work with, but as always, it will be a matter of there being ‘devil in the detail’.

Measures pledged by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help independent retailers included extension of the business rates relief for retailers until June, then discounted rates of up to two thirds for those hardest hit. The furlough scheme is extended until the end of September (with no change to the current terms until July). Non-essential retailer can apply for new restart grants of up to £6,000, and there will be free help for small businesses to boost their online operation through a Help to Grow scheme.

* The extension on stamp duty could help the housewares industry by encouraging investment in new homes.


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