15 Dec 2021

"announcements with new regulations throughout the UK make the current situation feel like lockdown by stealth." Says Bira CEO

In a message to Bira members Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said,

"You must all have a sense of ‘déjà vu’ at the moment as we experience another important December disrupted by Covid (Omicron to be more specific). After good sales in October and November, it is so disappointing to see retail activity curtailed in December with the announcement of new regulations to deal with the spread of Omicron. Whilst I know that you will always act responsibly with regards to the safety of your staff and customers, the current wave of announcements with new regulations throughout the UK make the current situation feel like lockdown by stealth.


Since the first regulations were announced we have been urging the various UK government to recognize the impact the changes have on business. Whilst shops are not closed, the bad news has a negative impact on consumer confidence and sentiment and this is evident in the reduced footfall being reported throughout the UK. Furthermore, businesses need to be able to plan ahead with a degree of certainty, and that can only come from the government. Because of this, we are asking for the following:


  1. A clear statement regarding the support that will be made available to businesses, consistently reviewed to target the support to those businesses suffering a drop in demand/ sales
  2. Implementation of the Business Rates Relief Fund before Christmas so local authorities can help impacted businesses as soon as possible
  3. Review the recent budget by reducing 2022/23 business rates down to the current scheme (i.e. 50% reduction increased to 75% reduction)
  4. Reintroduce free testing kits for businesses as more individuals are expected to take daily tests
  5. Explore options for utilising existing resources for supporting the most impacted businesses in the short-term
  6. Provide further flexibility of the repayment of CBILs and Bounce Back Loans to those businesses suffering significant financial hardship but not classed as in distress


This is not just a public crisis, it is also a business crisis that also demands new plans if we are to be able to build back the economy in 2022 and beyond."

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