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Coronavirus guidance

25.03

Restrictions lifted to help traders during Covid-19 outbreak

Plastic bag charge The 5p plastic bag charge for online deliveries to speed up hygienic food distribution during the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. The plastic bag charge was introduced in England in October 2015 to reduce plastic waste. This waiver was announced on Saturday, March 21, and is one in a series of measures being enforced by the UK […]

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27.03

Measures to help the self-employed through Covid-19 crisis – what we know

The Government last night (March 26) announced a scheme to support the UK’s self-employed affected by the coronavirus outbreak.  So far this is what we know about the package:  Direct cash grant of 80% of profits, up to £2,500 per month for at least three months  Those eligible for the new scheme will be able to apply directly to […]

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25.03

Support for businesses that pay little or no business rates

This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs  Eligibility You are eligible if:  your business is based in England  you are a small business and already receive SBBR and/or RRR   you are a business that occupies property  How to access the scheme You do not need […]

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27.03

Contactless limit increases to £45 from April 1

The spending limit for contactless card payments will be increased from £30 to £45, with a national roll-out beginning from April 1, 2020. The decision to raise the limit was taken following consultation between the retail sector and the finance and payments industry and follows similar increases in several other European countries over the past […]

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25.03

Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Government will also make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.  The Government will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to pre-lender cap on claims) to give lenders […]

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24.03

Regional Support

Government links For members in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland it is advisable to keep updated on the latest government advice from your devolved government websites. For Scottish Government updates click here.  For Welsh Government updates click here.  For Northern Irish Executive updates click here. 

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26.03

Concern as ‘many members may not benefit from rescue package for self-employed’, says Bira

Bira has welcomed tonight’s rescue plan for the self-employed – but has raised concerns that many members still won’t benefit. Tonight, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of support for self-employed people unable to work following the outbreak of coronavirus Covid-19. The bumper package will see self-employed workers paid up 80% of […]

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25.03

Cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of £15,000 and under will receive a grant of £10,000.  Businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.  Eligibility You are eligible for the grant if:  your business is […]

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25.03

Business Rates Relief

Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.  Eligibility You are eligible for the business rates holiday if:  your business is based in England  your business is in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector  Properties that will benefit from […]

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25.03

Coronavirus Guidance

We’ve compiled Government and employment law advice and guidance for businesses and employers regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.  

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24.03

Lay-offs, short-time working and guarantee payments

There must be a contractual right An employer cannot lay employees off or put them on short-time working unless the Contract of Employment states that there is a right for the employer to do so or the employee specifically agrees to being laid off or put on short-time working. If in doubt, Ellis Whittam’s Employment Law […]

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26.03

Bira members warned over Covid-19 scam text

Bira members are being warned about a scam text being sent to phones threatening a Government fine for breaching the current UK lock-down. The text looks like it’s a legitimate message from the UK Government warning people they are being fined £30 for leaving their property multiple times a day. However, it has been confirmed […]

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24.03

Employer/Employee Support

Employment allowance There is support for small businesses available during the COVID-19 pandemic.    Small employers with a National Insurance bill of £100,000 or less qualify for the Employment Allowance.  This will be expanded from April to £4,000 per small business, enough, for example, to fund the National Insurance employer contributions in total for four employees on […]

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25.03

More must be done to support independent retailers through Covid-19 crisis, says Bira

Bira is stepping up its efforts to get the best deal for its members during the coronavirus crisis. Bira has already successfully lobbied for extra support for independent retailers following the outbreak of Covid-19. However, CEO Andrew Goodacre says more must be done to protect businesses from collapse. Some of the measures Bira would like […]

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25.03

New coronavirus hub launched

Bira has launched a dedicated coronavirus hub to guide members and the wider retail community through the crisis. The online resource is a one-stop shop featuring a wealth of information and advice. It is being updated every day, throughout the day. Information on the hub includes: The list of businesses still allowed to trade, and […]

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24.03

Bira members in Scotland can now access emergency funding

Bira members in Scotland can now apply for £1 billion-worth of grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The one-off grants are designed to help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery, and more than 90,000 ratepayers across Scotland will be able to benefit. The grant support […]

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24.03

Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments

VAT For VAT, the deferral will apply from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020.  Eligibility All UK businesses are eligible.  How to access the scheme This is an automatic offer with no applications required. Businesses will not need to make a VAT payment during this period. Taxpayers will be given until the end of […]

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24.03

Shops allowed to continue trade under new lock-down measures

Further businesses and premises to close – updated 27.03.2020 Guidance on the closure of all retailers that sell non-essential goods and other non-essential premises, as part of further social distancing measures has been updated to include additional details to the list of businesses and premises that must remain closed. Guidance has also been added on […]

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24.03

Talking to your local authorities

Business Rates & Hardship Fund Your local authorities are those responsible for the administration of business rates.  The government has announced that they will introduce a business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.  Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019 to 2020 tax […]

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24.03

Important notice to Bira members regarding the use of Bira Direct

Following the latest Government announcement on the 23rd March 2020, all non-essential retail shops will be closed – Hardware stores are still allowed to open but we realise the high street will be much quieter in general – Bira Direct has had to take the difficult decision to suspend the invoicing facility through the Buying […]

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24.03

Existing Supplier Support

Business Insurance Commercial insurance – updated 25.03.2020 Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to […]

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23.03

Support needed for independent retailers forced to shut in UK-lockdown, says Bira

Bira is calling for immediate access to financial support for the small business owners effected by the Government-imposed lock-down of the country. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said small independent retailers affected by the new shut-down measures need ‘details and transparency’ when it comes to accessing the support available to them. Tonight (Monday, March 23), Boris […]

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24.03

Bank support

Get access to financial support If you feel the impact of COVID-19 will cause your business to struggle financially, it is a good idea to speak to your bank about the options you have as soon as possible. Our advice is that prevention is better than cure and that you are in a better position knowing the […]

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24.03

HMRC Support

HMRC Support Available HMRC support relating to your business during the coronavirus – Time to pay service If you have any concerns and fears about not being able to pay your tax bills as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) then we recommend you contact Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as you may be eligible […]

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23.03

How you can help us help more retailers

Explore and share your options Bira members have access to crucial services that could be beneficial to your business at this critical time. Now more than ever, independent retailers like you may need our support and guidance. It’s important that you explore and share all of the services that are freely available to you through your […]

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20.03

Bira calls for ‘speed and simplicity’ in claiming latest coronavirus crisis support

The Government’s latest raft of emergency measures to save jobs and businesses amidst the coronavirus crisis is being backed by Bira. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, has called for “speed and simplicity” in how these financial support packages are made available. Tonight (Friday, March 20), Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a new scheme of […]

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20.03

Launch of Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme brought forward

The launch of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been brought forward. At the Budget on March 11, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced that the scheme would be available ‘over the coming weeks’. This has now been brought forward and the launch is expected in week commencing March 23 2020. As […]

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20.03

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Readiness Bulletin – Issue 4

This business readiness bulletin for trade associations, business representative bodies and business intermediaries provides important information for you and your business members and networks on Coronavirus (COVID-19). We suggest that organisations providing advice to business continue to ensure that the latest GOV.UK information is available on their websites to support members and networks. Specific information […]

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20.03

Home & Gift Harrogate to go ahead, say organisers

Home & Gift Harrogate will go ahead as planned, organisers have told Bira. The show has been a key date in the retail calendar for 60 years, bringing the retail industry together and allowing buyers and brands to meet, share and do business. Clarion Events, the organisers behind Home & Gift, have today confirmed that […]

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19.03

Help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last update: 19.03.2020 To help owners of non-domestic properties, including businesses, deal with the impact of COVID-19, the Scottish Government has made changes to non-domestic rates (business rates) for 2020-21. The move follows Bira’s direct plea to Scottish Ministers to follow the measures outlined by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre […]

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18.03

Bira welcomes temporary abolition of business rates in Scotland

The Scottish Government’s move to temporarily abolish business rates in a bid to minimise the impact of coronavirus has been welcomed by Bira. Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP has unveiled a new economic package to the Holyrood Parliament in response to coronavirus, including 12 months of full relief from business rates for retailers and hospitality. The move […]

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18.03

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Readiness Bulletin – Issue 3

This business readiness bulletin provides important information for you and your business on Coronavirus (COVID-19), including the latest GOV.UK guidance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide further advice for business today, Tuesday 17 March. Further information and links to the Chancellor’s statement will be circulated in tomorrow’s bulletin.   NEW – Exceptional travel advisory […]

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17.03

Bira welcomes move to support small businesses in Wales through coronavirus

Bira has welcomed a move to support small businesses in Wales through the coronavirus crisis. The Welsh Government has announced it will temporarily reduce – or abolish – rates for some small businesses in a move worth £200m to help limit the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses. Shops, leisure and hospitality businesses in Wales […]

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16.03

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Readiness Bulletin

This business readiness bulletin provides important information for you and your business on Coronavirus (COVID-19), including the latest GOV.UK guidance. NEW: Stay at home guidance. The guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus infection has been updated. If a person has symptoms of coronavirus infection however mild, the person should not leave home for […]

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12.03

Coronavirus emergency fund – what it means for you

Newly-appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his first Budget yesterday (March 11). It included a £30bn emergency package to help the UK economy weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and comes following a direct plea from Bira. Here’s what the measures will mean for small independent businesses – and how to access […]

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11.03

Budget 2020: Bira welcomes emergency funds to help independent retailers through coronavirus crisis

Bira has welcomed the Chancellor’s emergency package to help small retail businesses amid the coronavirus crisis. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his first Budget this afternoon (March 11) which included a £30bn package to help the UK economy respond to the coronavirus. He announced the outbreak will bring ‘significant impact’ in the short […]

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05.03

Call for emergency business fund to support coronavirus-hit independent retailers

Bira is calling for the Treasury to set up an emergency business fund to help those affected by coronavirus. The plea comes as part of Bira’s statement to Chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of next Wednesday’s Budget. Bira is calling for a number of measures to support small retail businesses through the coronavirus emergency including: An immediate increase […]

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