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Policy and influencing

Fighting for the rights of independent retail businesses

Bira exists solely to make the world a better place for independent businesses.

Bira as an influencer

Bira influences public debate, by monitoring and shaping new legislation through the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, keeping Bira members one step ahead.

We work hard to assist Government in its information-gathering activities, carrying out surveys of our members to find out how trade is for them and regularly appearing in local, national and trade press, on local and national radio and TV to give our members a unified voice.

Consultations by Government, with the aim of influencing policy.

In the past we have consulted on the National Minimum Wage, administration of Business Rates, Explosive Precursors, Legislation around the sale of Corrosive Substances, Consumer Rights, speeds and weight for agricultural vehicles, apprenticeships and the regulation of payments.

Research with experts in the Business Rates system.

Bira was the first body to talk about the problems that the current regime causes, led the debate into the media and onto the headlines and continues to work on alternative ways that the tax could operate in future. It does this both through British Retail Consortium Work and its own avenues of research.


Reporting on the dynamics of high street change.

With the Local Data Company bira produces twice-yearly analysis of the openings-up and closings down of independent retailers across the country.

This strand of our work has exposed the fact that the nett growth in the numbers of small shops in each of the past four years is the only thing making up for the continued erosion in the numbers of chain stores in our towns; the only factor that has reduced the shop vacancy rate over the past four years and the best hope for regeneration that our high streets have.

Bira carries out regular surveys of its members to find out how trade is for them and to provide the basis for influencing opinion on the hugely important subject of the value of independent retailers to our towns and cities.

  • Bira quarterly sales monitor: This survey tracks the ups and downs of trade among the thousands of shops in membership, providing analysis of the relative fortunes of regions and product sub-sectors. A key metric is the Confidence Index as a guide to independents’ view of their immediate future prospects.
  • Bira wages survey: A very comprehensive annual survey providing finely-detailed comparisons of pay rates and conditions across companies of different scales, in different regions and in different product sub-sectors. The results are free to members taking, available to purchase by members not talking part (£50).
  • BAGMA dealer survey: a detailed analysis of the way that franchised tractor dealers regard their manufacturers and brand-owners. The UK survey feeds into the Europe-wide CLIMMAR survey.

Bira are also involved in:+

• Public debates and roundtables on a wide variety of issues.
• Appearances at fringe events at party conferences.
• Speeches and panel debates at conferences.
• Meetings with key bodies such as the Bank of England.
• The issue of press releases to help influence public opinion through the media.
• Use of social media to engage with a wide range of stakeholders.