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Abolish business rates until 2022, says Bira


Bira is calling for business rates to be abolished for another year following a damning report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealing the true impact of Covid-19 on shopper footfall.

The BRC released its ShopperTrak Footfall Monitor for December 2020.

Key findings include:

  • Total year on year footfall for 2020 fell by 43.4%.
  • Year on year UK Footfall decreased by 46.1% in November, a 19.3 percentage point improvement from November when England was under lockdown.
  • Footfall on High Streets declined by 49.5% year on year. This was the worst performing location type for the fifth consecutive month.
  • Northern Ireland saw the shallowest footfall decline of all regions at -47.2%, followed by Scotland at -50.2%. Wales saw a decline of -52.3.1%.
  • The Golden quarter saw nearly half the footfall (a decline of 48.4%) compared to the same period in 2019.

Following the report, Bira is calling for business rates to be abolished until 2022. They are currently due to be reinstated this April following a freeze through the pandemic.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “These figures are a clear indication the impact of lockdowns and Covid-19. Even when shops were open, the high streets (where most independent retailers are located) were only operating at 70% of the normal footfall.

“The situation has made retailers even more vulnerable than they might normally have been at this time of year, and that is why we believe the Government support measures do not go far enough.

“Furthermore, if ever the Government needed evidence that business rates need removing for non-essential retail in 2021/22, here it is.”

Read more about the report here


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