Monthly Archives: May 2020

Furlough scheme update – phased end to government scheme

Business will be expected to contribute to the Government’s furlough scheme from September, it has been announced. Chancellor Rishi Sunak made the statement as part of the daily Covid-19 briefing tonight (Friday, May 29). From August, employers will be expected to pay for the National Insurance and pension contributions towards their employees wages. In September, […]

Could there be changes to the Government furlough scheme?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to make an announcement about official changes to the furlough scheme imminently. It has been indicated he will ask businesses to contribute to their employees wages from August – approximately  20%. Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme launched in March, employers can claim 80% of furloughed staff’s wages, up […]

Bira welcomes £50m fund to prepare high streets for shoppers return

Bira has welcomed a new £50m boost to help local authorities prepare high streets for reopening. High Streets Minister Simon Clarke announced the fund for councils to help their local high streets get safely back to business earlier this week. The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help local authorities in England introduce a range […]

Ready to reopen? Don’t forget your risk assessment

Independent retailers will only be able to open from June 15 if they have completed the required risk assessment, the Government has warned. The advice follows last night’s announcement that non-essential retailers will be able to open again following the countrywide lockdown which started on March 23, 2020. The risk assessment will need to be […]

Non-essential retailers will be allowed to reopen from June 15

Non-essential retailers will be allowed to reopen from Monday, June 15, it has been announced tonight (Sunday, May 25). Boris Johnson said that car showrooms and street markets would be able to open from next week, followed by other retailers a fortnight later in the next phase of restriction lifting. However, Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre […]

Free webinar will show you how to work safely

Independent retailers are invited to a free webinar about how to make your workplace covid-secure. The Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is hosting the online event on Thursday, May 28, from 11am. This webinar is designed to be relevant for shops and branches: • This guidance covers shops that are currently […]

Restrictions to start being lifted in Scotland

Garden centres will be allowed to reopen in Scotland from next week under the first phase of restrictions being eased. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today that garden centres and recycling facilities will allowed to reopen, and outdoor activities such as golf, fishing, tennis and bowls will be permitted again from May 28. Outdoor […]

When can you claim for Covid-19 Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

Bira members looking to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments for employees absent because of Covid-19 will be able to do so from next week. HMRC’s new online portal will launch next Tuesday, May 26, as part of the Government’s package of support measures for small and medium-sized businesses affected by the pandemic. This […]

Bira and the London Mayor urge retailers to help make face coverings widely available

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is working in partnership with the Greater London Authority (GLA) to ensure hardware stores and other retailers can meet demand for face coverings. The joint effort follows London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s advice – and that of central government – that users of public transport, and places where social distancing […]

Boost to business support for retailers in Northern Ireland

Bira members in Northern Ireland could be eligible for extra support after a further £213m rates package for businesses was announced today (Tuesday, May 19). Finance Minister Conor Murphy says the funds are in addition to the £100m scheme announced in March which gave all businesses a three month rates holiday. The new scheme, developed with […]

Bira calls for clarity over government’s reopening guidance

Bira is calling for more clarity over new government guidance on the type of shops which can now reopen. According to a new document, homeware stores can now reopen along with garden centres, as of yesterday (Wednesday, May 13). The move follows Boris Johnson’s televised address to the nation on Sunday revealing a phased exit […]

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – what you need to claim it

The Government’s online portal to claim from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opened this morning (Wednesday, May 13). Anyone eligible for this scheme should have received notification from HMRC via a letter, text message or email. To make an application, claimants will need: Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – if you do not […]

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to open

The online portal to apply for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens tomorrow (Wednesday, May 13). Those who may be eligible for the scheme should have received a text, letter or email from HMRC with details of the application process. It is understood that, if successful, the claim will be paid by May […]

Furlough scheme extended until October

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme until October. The announcement was made in Parliament this afternoon and means the Government will continue to pay 80% of wages, to a maximum of £2,500 a month, for furloughed staff. However, from August to October there will be greater flexibility so furloughed employees […]

Reopening indies must be part of first phase of exit plan, says Bira

‘Independent retail businesses can offer a safe shopping environment and will help keep people within their local communities’, says the head of Bira. Andrew Goodacre is calling for small independent shops to reopen during the first phase of lifting lockdown restrictions outlined in government documents this afternoon (Tuesday, May 11). He says that a shop’s […]

Durston Garden Products Ltd Coronavirus Update

Bira Direct Supplier Durston Garden Products have taken the hard decision to stop taking orders from new customers. “I wanted to keep you up to date with our current position, during these very difficult, unprecedented times.  Due to a huge increase in demand for our products, we have taken the very hard decision to stop […]

Shops could reopen from June 1, says Boris Johnson

Independent retailers could be allowed to reopen from June 1, Boris Johnson said in a televised statement tonight (Sunday, May 10). The Prime Minister set out tentative steps to ease the countrywide lockdown in his address to the nation. As part of the announcement, he said shops could be able to reopen from June 1 […]

Warning over furlough scheme ‘errors’

Small retail businesses are warned they could have to pay thousands back to HMRC for making errors on applications for the Government’s furlough scheme, according to an accountancy journal. A report in Accountancy Today says that many small business applications includes the cost of their Employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for furloughed employees. However, for […]

No revaluation of business rates in 2021

Bira has welcomed today’s government announcement that there will be no revaluation of business rates in 2021. The move – following pressure from Bira and Altus Group – will help reduce the uncertainty for firms affected by the impact of Covid-19. Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021, but following the recent economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic Ministers said they want […]

L. G. Harris & Co. Ltd. – COVID-19 update

L. G. Harris & Co. Ltd. (Orkla House Care UK) reopens Bromsgrove factory and warehouse after Covid-19 working practices review Following a review of the Bromsgrove site L. G. Harris & Co. Ltd are pleased to announce that we will reopen their factory and warehouse to take orders from Monday 4th May. New processes and […]

Join free webinar on consumer behaviour

Bira members can gain an insight into how consumer behaviour, feelings and shopping habits have changed during the Covid-19 lockdown, in a free webinar.  As part of Rare Consulting’s Foresight Series of online presentations, members are invited to join the conversation tomorrow (Thursday, May 7, 2020) at 11am. The aim of the webinar is to […]

Bira supports top-up scheme for local business grant funds

A new scheme to top-up local business grant funds has been welcomed by Bira. Bira has been pressuring the Government to go further in its grant scheme to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. In response, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced an extra £617m would be made available […]

Government’s bounce back loan scheme now open

The Government’s new bounce back scheme, offering 100% taxpayer-backed loans for the UK’s smallest businesses, is now open. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the scheme last week. The scheme officially opened this morning and offers firms loans of up to £50,000 within days of applying. To access the loans – free of capital […]