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Coronavirus guidance

28.05

NHS Test and Trace

This guidance explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS Test and Trace programme to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives. This guidance should be used in conjunction with the Working Safely During COVID Guidance. By following the BEIS guidance employers can […]

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13.07

Job Retention Bonus

To be eligible, the employees for which the employer will receive the grant will need to: Earn above the Lower Earnings Limit (£520 per month) on average in November, December and January and be paid in each month; Have been furloughed by that employer at any point and legitimately claimed for under the Coronavirus Job […]

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31.07

Job Retention Bonus scheme: More details released

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today (July 31) unveiled further details of the £1,000-per-employee Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus. The announcement coincides with changes to the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme from tomorrow (August 1) when employers will have to start paying employees’ national insurance and pension contributions for the hours not worked.  It’s the […]

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31.07

Reopening of casinos, bowling alleys and more postponed

The Prime Minister has postponed the further easing of lockdown restrictions in England following an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus, it has been announced. Tomorrow (August 1) restrictions were set to be eased to allow the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys and ice rinks, as well as the return of close contact […]

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31.07

Loans boost for independent retailers

More coronavirus support loans are to be made available to independent retailers following a change to state aid rules, it was announced yesterday (July 30). Changes to the rules mean that more small businesses can now benefit from loans of up to £5 million under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Previously businesses which […]

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30.07

Coronavirus: Guidance on how retailers can contain and report local outbreaks

The Government has released guidance on how businesses can recognise, contain and report incidents of coronavirus. The COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations: know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus (COVID-19) are aware of measures local health protection teams may […]

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30.07

New grants available for small businesses

Grants totalling £20 million are to be made available to small businesses, the Government announced today (July 30). Thousands of smaller businesses in England are set to benefit from the new government funding to help them recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Small and medium sized businesses will have access to grants of […]

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28.07

Bira CEO talks to Radio News Hub

The introduction of mandatory face masks in shops and other restricted spaces in England was the topic of a news interview featuring Bira’s CEO. Andrew Goodacre was one of the guests on Monday’s Radio News Hub chat show hosted by Jon Francis. Other representatives on the programme were Regina Toth, who works in retail in […]

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27.07

Who’s exempt from wearing a face mask in England?

From Friday (July 24), the Government made it mandatory for people in England to wear face masks in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres and other confined areas. However, this legislation does not apply to everyone as there are certain exemptions including: anyone under the age of 11 those with disabilities or certain health conditions, such as […]

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06.05

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – updated 29.05.2020 On Friday 29th May the Government announced an extension to cover a further three months of earnings – but at a rate to match the furlough scheme. The changes include: Individuals can continue to apply for the first SEISS grant until 13 July. Under the first grant, eligible individuals can claim […]

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06.05

Bounce Back Loan

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the […]

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24.07

Eat Out to Help Out promo material now available

Coffee shops, pubs and restaurants looking to participate in the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme can now access promotional material. The Government has created a variety of posters and other resources for food retailers to use to let customers know they are taking part in the scheme. Under the initiative, customers can enjoy […]

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04.05

Social Distancing Kits

Social Distancing Signage and Screens to keep you, your customers and employees safe throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.

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23.07

Latest guidance on mandatory face coverings in England

The Government has released further guidance on where face coverings will be mandatory in England from tomorrow (Friday, July 24). In addition to mandatory face coverings in shops, shopping centres and supermarkets, customers will also be required to wear them in take-away food outlets. Venues such as restaurants, pubs and gyms will be exempt. Those […]

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22.07

‘Thank you for wearing a face mask’ – downloadable poster

From Friday (July 24), face coverings will be mandatory in all shops in England. With this in mind, Bira has created a poster to encourage customers to comply – and thank them for doing so. While retailers are not responsible for enforcing the Government-imposed measure, the poster politely reminds shoppers to wear a mask when […]

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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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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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21.07

Road closures: Bira’s plea to PM to ‘give us back our high streets’

Three quarters (75%) of you say trade is being detrimentally impacted by lockdown road closures, an exclusive Bira members’ survey has revealed. We sent out the survey after many of you contacted the team to express concerns about increased road closures impacting footfall, after we published this story. As a result, Bira is calling on […]

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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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17.07

Self-employed can defer July tax bill

The self-employed are still able to defer their July tax payment if they’re struggling financially as a result of coronavirus. The Government announced that taxes due this month July 2020 can be deferred to January 2021 for self-employed Brits who are facing financial difficulty due to the pandemic. Each payment on account is estimated, based on […]

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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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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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17.07

Reopening date for non-essential retail in Leicester

Non-essential shops in Leicester will be able to reopen again on Friday, July 24, the Government has confirmed. The local lockdown imposed on Leicester following a spike in coronavirus cases will begin to be eased from July 24, although not all businesses on the high street will be allowed to reopen straight away. While schools […]

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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

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and more

Parents returning to work after extended leave eligible for furlough Updated 10.06.2020 People on paternity and maternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be eligible for the Government’s furlough scheme, HM Treasury has announced. parents on statutory maternity and paternity leave who return to work in the coming months will be […]

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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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17.07

Wales issues new guidance to retailers

The Welsh Government has released new guidelines for social distancing in retail. The revised advice is part of the easing of restrictions in Wales while still mitigating the risk of coronavirus. The accompanying document guidance says: “The regulations include a new more detailed approach to requiring all reasonable measures to be taken to minimise risk […]

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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

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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14.07

Mandatory masks: What you need to know

It will be made mandatory for shoppers in England to wear face coverings from July 24, the Government has announced. Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to £100, the Government is to announce. Children under 11 and those with certain disabilities will be exempt. The move […]

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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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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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10.07

Eat Out to Help Out scheme – What we know

In the Chancellor’s mini-Budget on Wednesday (July 8), he announced an Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. The initiative, to help boost the hospitality sector following lockdown, gives consumers the opportunity to enjoy 50% off eating out at participating outlets from Monday to Wednesday through August. Diners, including children, will be able to claim half […]

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10.07

Beauty salons and nail bars set to reopen in England on Monday

Beauty services such as spas and nail salons will be able to reopen in England from Monday (July), it has been announced. The Government announced further easing of lockdown restrictions yesterday which also included the reopening of tanning studios and tattooists. However, some services – such as facials – will not yet be on offer. […]

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10.07

Bira’s coronavirus membership deal raises cash for charity

Bira has raised more than £1,000 for charity through its coronavirus membership deal. At the start of lockdown, Bira offered independent retailers the opportunity to sign up for the free three-month Coronavirus Membership Package in return for a nominal donation of £1, £5 or £10 to the Rainy Day Trust (RDT). The deal was available […]

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08.07

Bira ‘disappointed’ mini-Budget does not help indie retailers

Bira has expressed its disappointment that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s mini-Budget does not directly help retail business owners. Mr Sunak announced a raft of further measures to support the recovery of the economy following the coronavirus lockdown, in Parliament this afternoon (Wednesday, July 8). Features of the Budget included a job retention bonus scheme; a £2bn […]

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02.07

Face masks in Scottish shops mandatory from July 10

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today confirmed that shoppers will be required to wear face masks from July 10. Last week, we reported that retailers Scotland were being asked to display a poster at their entrance requesting shoppers to wear face coverings. However, wearing face masks in shops has now been made mandatory. Non-essential […]

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02.07

Deadline to apply for SEISS grant approaching

Bira members are reminded that the deadline to apply for the first grant under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is fast approaching. Members, who are self-employed or a partner in a trading partnership, have until Monday, July 13, to make a may claim for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)  grant.The taxable grant is worth […]

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01.07

Increased road closures ‘detrimental’ to high street trade, says Bira

Increasing numbers of road closures are a further barrier for shoppers to return to the high street, says Bira. Bira is raising concerns after members in coastal resorts highlighted the problem when roads were closed as tourists flocked to beaches during lockdown last week. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said these issues are part of a country-wide, […]

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01.07

Coronavirus: Are you ready for a second wave?

This week, Leicester was placed back in the first phase of lockdown following a spike in COVID-19 cases, prompting people to ask whether they are ready if the same happens in their city or town. Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre has shared his thoughts on how independent retailers can prepare should a local – or national […]

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30.06

Non-essential retailers in Leicester forced to close again

Non-essential retailers in Leicester have been placed on lockdown again following a spike in coronavirus cases in the city. The decision comes just two weeks after non-essential retail in England was allowed to reopen. Schools in Leicester have also been put back into lockdown. The situation comes as the rest of England prepares to ease […]

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26.06

‘Encouraging’ start to return of non-essential retail

The latest Bira members’ survey has revealed ‘encouraging’ trade following the reopening of non-essential shops in England. And Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre has welcomed the reopening of the hospitality industry – on July 4 in England – as it will further support members and the wider independent retail sector. The members’ survey was carried out to assess […]

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26.06

Retailers in Scotland urged to promote use of face masks

Retailers in Scotland are being urged to display a poster at their entrance requesting shoppers to wear face coverings. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made the request following a decision to reopen most non-essential retail on Monday, June 29, with further restrictions eased from July 6. The Scottish Government has provided template posters and printable […]

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24.06

Scotland update: Restrictions eased from July 6

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a further easing of lockdown restrictions from July 6. She told Scottish Parliament today that outdoor hospitality such as beer gardens can reopen on Monday, July 6, while indoor pubs will be able to reopen on July 15 – with strict social distancing in place. Shopping centres will […]

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23.06

Deadline for deferring VAT payments imminent

Bira members are being advised the deadline for deferring VAT payments is the end of this month (June). As part of the Government’s support for businesses during COVID-19, HMRC gave businesses the option of deferring their VAT payments if they were unable to pay on time, without incurring late payment interest or penalties. Payment of […]

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23.06

Hairdressers and hospitality set to reopen on July 4

Pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and hotels will be allowed to reopen on Saturday, July 4, it has been announced today (June 23). Prime Minister Boris Johnson also told the Commons that the 2m social distancing rule is to be reduced to 1m – where it is absolutely necessary, and safe, to do so. Hospitality will […]

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19.06

Bira members’ survey results helps extend government protection scheme

Bira has welcomed the decision to extend protection for businesses from aggressive debt collection. The extended measures will prevent struggling retailers from eviction until September. The protection was due to expire on June 30. The decision was made by the Government after Bira shared information supplied by you in a recent members’ survey. The survey […]

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