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20.11

Conservatives listen to retailers in pledge to cut business rates

Bira welcomes the Conservatives proposal to support our high streets if they are re-elected. After a three-year campaign, Bira is pleased to see a significant reduction in rates proposed and a fundamental review of rates. Bira has been working with the Government over that past three years to offer a solution to the outdated and […]

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04.11

Independent retailers respond to the findings of the government’s inquiry into business rates

Bira welcomes the results of the government’s inquiry into business rates, but is disappointed with the recommendations for reform. The report is clear about the current business rates system needing reform by removing complexities, incentivising investment and changing the Check Challenge Appeal process, which Bira agrees with. Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, said: “It is […]

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24.10

Wages Survey reveals retailer confidence is at a three-year low

Bira’s business confidence barometer, which forms part of Bira’s annual Wages Survey showed 50.8% of retailers are feeling anxious, which is significantly higher than in 2018 (40.83%). The number of retailers feeling very confident showed a decline too, with only 7.1% feeling very confident, which is down on 2018 and 2017 (8.28% and 12.5%). The […]

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04.09

Businesses come together to urge business rates inquiry results

Bira has joined forces with a number of bodies, including the BRC and Association of Convenience Stores, to urge the Treasury Select Committee to release the findings of its inquiry into business rates. With several of the MPs involved in the inquiry moving into roles within Government, the inquiry has been held up and there […]

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10.07

Tackling retail violence

Violence against staff is a huge problem for retail. Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that around 115 workers are attacked daily. Bira has co-signed a letter to the Government alongside other retail groups to persuade them that more needs to be done to prevent violence towards shop staff. We have made the […]

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04.07

£1million given to Councils for knife test purchasing

The Offensive Weapons Act has now received Royal Assent, which means it shouldn’t be long before it is law. With the Local Government Association (LGA) saying that in some areas 60% of shops are selling knives illegally, it is time for retailers to sharpen up their policies and staff training. The government has given £1million […]

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20.05

MPs take their enquiry into business rates to Birmingham to hear from independent retailers

The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan, MP (Chair of the Treasury Committee) alongside MPs Steve Baker, Alison McGovern and Clive Betts (Chair of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee) brought the Treasury Committee’s enquiry into business rates to Birmingham today, to speak to a number of independent retailers at the British Independent Retailers Association’s […]

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16.05

Offensive Weapons Act receives Royal Assent

New legislation paves the way for Knife Crime Prevention Orders   The Offensive Weapons Act has today (Thursday 16 May) received Royal Assent, bringing in tough new measures that strengthen law enforcement’s response to violent crime. The Act will make it illegal to possess dangerous weapons in private, including knuckledusters, zombie knives and death star […]

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07.05

Over 275 brands to be seen at Exclusively 2019

Momentum is building for the 2019 Exclusively Housewares and Exclusively Electrical. It’s the housewares show not to be missed. There’s an outstanding show lined up with 32 fantastic new exhibitors bringing the show total to 149 exhibitors. The myriad of exciting new exhibitors will bring a fresh dynamic to the show and are sure to […]

BAGMA
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30.04

Treasury Committee brings its Business Rates inquiry to Birmingham to hear from independent retailers

The Treasury Committee together with the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) are hosting an event about Business Rates and the effect they have on independent retailers and our high streets, on the 20th May. The event will bring together a number of business associations, businesses of all sizes, sole traders, as well as the committee members, […]

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21.03

ONS reports encouraging retail sales figures but it isn’t a time to feel confident

Following the year on year 4% rise in retail sales reported by the Office of National Statistics today, Andrew Goodacre, CEO of the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), says: “The positive results for retail sales growth in February are encouraging and will certainly be a help to many struggling retailers. The surprising warmer weather will have […]

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04.04

Business rates in Scotland – April 2019

The principles of  business rates in Scotland are broadly similar to the rating systems in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. All non domestic properties are given an assessment (rateable value) which is equivalent to an annual rental value. The last revaluation took place in 2017 and the next revaluation is scheduled for 2022. Business Rate […]

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14.03

Government focused on implementing Making Tax Digital

In his Spring Statement 2019 speech, the Chancellor reinforced that the mandatory digital record keeping for businesses with annual revenues above the VAT threshold (£85,000) will come into force from 1st April 2019. Philip Hammond called this an “important first step in this modernisation of the tax system to which the Government remains committed”. Making Tax Digital (MTD) […]

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04.03

High Street 2030 report backs Bira’s ideas

BIRA’S LONG-STANDING ARGUMENT that business rates need replacing has been endorsed by MPs in a report, High Streets and Town Centres in 2030. Describing business rates as “increasingly outdated and far from ideal”, the 78-page document from the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee states: “We believe that high streets and town centres can survive, […]

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28.02

What Tax and VAT support is included in the Bira Legal service?

Legal Expenses Insurance In addition to the free and unlimited telephone advice covering a wide range of tax and VAT matters, Bira members with fewer than 275 employees are also covered by a legal expenses insurance (LEI) policy which can cover a range of costs including those incurred when facing an employment tribunal or HM […]

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13.02

Don’t miss out on a rates reduction- take action now

Members could miss out on a reduction in their business rates if they don’t contact their local authority or council to find out how the reduction will be applied. Bira have become aware of a lack of uniformity in the way local authorities are implementing the hard-fought 30 percent discount for businesses with a rateable […]

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31.01

Home Secretary announces new police powers to tackle knife crime

Action to be taken against retailers found selling knives to children £500k funding for Trading Standards to prosecute retailers who repeatedly sell knives to under 18s New Knife Crime Prevention Orders will give police more powers to stop people carrying knives Further measures introduced to target early intervention with a new phase of #knifefree The […]

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30.01

Pet shops protest at strict new rules

Bira has made representations to DEFRA to voice the concerns of pet shop owners who are critical of new regulations that came into force on 1 October 2018. The new Animal Activities Licensing (AAL) regulations replace several laws dating back to 1925. Now any business in England selling live animals or boarding cats or dogs […]

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10.10

The fight continues as the House of Commons debate bira’s Business Rates Proposal

This week, independent retailing champion Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP took bira’s proposal for a £12,000 allowance for small businesses, instead of the current threshold to the House of Commons for an Adjournment Debate answered by Mel Stride MP – the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General. This vital debate for independent retailers focused […]

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09.10

BREXIT | What happens to employee rights if there is no deal?

Concerns have been mounting as we head towards March 2019 without clear signs that a Brexit deal with the EU can be reached. The government has taken the step of publishing a series of guidance in the event that a deal cannot be struck. In its ‘Workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal’ document, the government […]

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12.10

Have the largest retailers given up on shop theft?

ANTI-SHOP THEFT CAMPAIGNER Neil Mackay is urging bira, through its membership of the British Retail Consortium, to keep up the pressure on large retailers to report stealing from stores to the police. He believes statistics surrounding shop theft are very inaccurate as many retailers no longer bother to report incidences of stealing, largely because police […]

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12.09

bira takes its business rates proposal to the Houses of Parliament

bira presented its plan for business rates reform to MPs at the Houses of Parliament this week. bira asked MPs to consider changing the current £12,000 threshold to an allowance, as a much-needed short-term solution. It is bira’s belief that an allowance would help the majority of small retail businesses and make the difference between […]

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19.07

No new tribunals for bira members in 2018

Things are always changing in the field of employment law; shifting rules, regulations and standards can often leave employers feeling confused and frustrated which can lead to costly mistakes for those who don’t take professional legal advice, with one outcome being taken to tribunals. One of the biggest changes in recent years was the decision […]

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12.04

Government Serious Violence Strategy announced

Home Secretary Amber Rudd today (Monday 9 April) sets out a multi-million pound commitment to steering young people away from crime and tackling violent drug-dealing gangs through the Government’s first Serious Violence Strategy. Commissioned by the Home Secretary and backed with £40m of Home Office funding, it marks a major shift in the Government’s response […]

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23.02

Automatic Enrolment Messages for Employers

Employers – you need to tell The Pension Regulator how you’ve met your automatic enrolment duties. Find out how today. Over 1 million employers have now completed AE, but over the next six months there are still over 200,000 who will need to complete their duties and tell The Pensions Regulator how they have done […]

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28.02

April 2018 Contributions Increases

This April will see the start of increased pensions contributions for employers and their staff. The total minimum contribution will rise from 2% to 5% and then to 8% in April next year. Increasing minimum contributions should be a straight forward task for you to do but there are a number of checks you will […]

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19.01

The Darwin £10 note is almost extinct – Are you ready?

The Bank of England will withdraw legal tender status of the paper £10 note featuring Charles Darwin at 23:59 on Thursday 1 March 2018. With 6 weeks to go, all businesses that handle cash need to plan and prepare for the change. After 1 March 2018, businesses and the public no longer have to accept […]

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17.01

Card surcharging outlawed: What it means for retailers

Adding a surcharge when customers pay using a credit or debit cards is no longer permitted. Most retailers won’t have ever charged a fee so won’t be affected, as they have chosen to always absorb the cost for accepting card payments. The biggest sectors to be affected will be hospitality, travel and airlines etc. However, […]

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08.01

Retailers and academics join Government effort to tackle acid attacks

Some of the country’s largest retailers and independent business leaders have pledged not to sell the most harmful corrosive substances to under 18s, as part of a series of voluntary commitments proposed by the Government to help limit acid attacks. Waitrose, B&Q, Morrisons, Wickes, Co-op, Screwfix and Tesco are among the major brands to sign […]

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08.12

Automatic Enrolment: What happens if I don’t comply?

There are certain legal duties you must meet for automatic enrolment. If you don’t comply with your duties, we may take enforcement action. You, the employer, are responsible for meeting your legal duties for automatic enrolment. If you don’t comply, you may face enforcement action including compliance notices, and penalty notices (fines). If you receive […]

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06.12

All employers have automatic enrolment duties – don’t ignore it. It’s the law!

To date, more than 8.5 million people have been automatically enrolled in a workplace pension by over 800,000 employers. TPR recently published their annual commentary and analysis report, which shows that more than 70% of all new businesses will have staff they will need to put into a workplace pension. This means the majority of […]

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06.12

Automatic Enrolment: Increases in Minimum Workplace Pension Contributions

You may have heard radio advertising showing that as well as providing the teabags, employers need to provide their staff with a workplace pension. The campaign calls for you to get to know your responsibilities when it comes to a workplace pension, but are you also aware of your responsibilities for the increase in minimum pension […]

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23.11

bira’s response to the budget

In response to the Chancellor’s budget yesterday; bira welcomes some of the practical details such as boosting the housing market by house building, investing in technology and reducing the stamp duty to first time buyers. All of which should feed into greater retail spending in due course. However, perhaps the most worrying part of the […]

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17.11

Employing seasonal or temporary staff

If you employ seasonal or temporary staff you must assess them individually every time you pay them. This includes staff who work for you for a few days, a few weeks or several months. Your assessment of who to put into a pension scheme may take more time and effort, as you will need to […]

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06.11

Help the Home Office improve right to work checks

Help the Home Office improve the way you check job applicants have the right to work in the UK The Home Office is looking for employers in the retail sector to trial a new way to carry out right to work checks. The new online service will be faster to use than the existing ways […]

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26.10

Changes to cheque clearing for business banking

New legislation to improve cheque clearing times will be introduced to the UK banking industry from 30 October 2017. Currently paper cheques are physically exchanged between banks. From 30 October 2017, Individual Banks will gradually begin to capture and exchange digital images of cheques with other banks. The time it takes to clear a cheque […]

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03.10

The round £1 coin will be withdrawn from 16 October 2017

The round £1 coins, that have been in circulation since 1983, will no longer be accepted from 16 October 2017. They will be permanently replaced by the new, 12-sided £1 coin which has been in circulation since March 2017. The round £1 coins will remain in circulation until October 15th,  however from the 16th onwards, you […]

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22.08

What you need to know about Contract of Employment

Contract of Employment – are they just a worthless piece of paper or a great tool for employers? We take a look at the main points you need to consider when drafting and varying contracts in this Contract of Employment Q&A . Do I need to provide my employees with a written Contract of Employment? Contrary to […]

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01.08

Watch out for exemption certificate scams

Be wary of scams involving the sale of fake certificates that suggest you do not have workplace pension duties. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is investigating at least one company offering what it describes as “Certificates of Auto Enrolment Exemption” to employers. If you’re offered the chance to buy a certificate of exemption or any similar […]

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14.07

EU General Data Protection Act Regulations

Obligations under the Data Protection Act The UK government has been clear that, despite Brexit, they will implement the regulations. Although EU Member States have up to the 25th May 2018 to implement the new rules in their national laws, you need to think about how to plan for the changes for your business now. […]

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21.06

General advice on fire safety precautions for premises owners

Following the tragic fire on 14th June at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, some of our clients have enquired about what they should be doing to protect themselves and the people they are responsible for from the risk of fire. bira legal would therefore like to provide some simple advice on general fire safety precautions […]

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23.06

TPR to begin auto enrolment spot checks on Birmingham employers

The Pensions Regulator has announced that they are carrying out Auto Enrolment spot checks on Birmingham employers as part of the nationwide enforcement campaign. Following on from the The Pensions Regulator announcement released on Friday 16th June – as part of the nationwide campaign which began in London, and then Manchester – TPR is to begin AE spot […]

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13.06

Government guidance and vigilance reminder for business

Following the tragic events in Manchester, the Home Office would like to remind suppliers of regulated and reportable explosives precursors to look out for and report suspicious transactions and attempted transactions to the police on: 0800 789321 or chemical.reporting@met.police.uk Details: Explosives precursors are chemicals that may be used in the illicit manufacture of explosives.   […]

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09.06

What does the election mean for retail?

WHAT DOES THE ELECTION RESULT MEAN FOR RETAIL?  Source: GlobalData   The party manifestoes offered little other than more pain for retailers, but the uncertainty arising from the election result threatens to damage the industry more than any policy could.   In one sense not much has changed for retail –  little in the way […]

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07.06

Dealing with Annual Leave Requests

Most of us want to enjoy the summer. But as employers, you will often face the difficult task of dealing with numerous annual leave requests, refusing leave and cancelling pre-approved holidays. The workplace rules in your business should set out how much notice an employee needs to provide, how the leave must be booked and […]

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02.06

Shoe firm left to foot £42,000 bill after ignoring staff pension rules

A high street footwear firm turned a £400 fine into a bill for more than £40,000 after claiming it was too busy to meet its pension responsibilities. The case has prompted a fresh warning to employers by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) not to ignore their automatic enrolment duties. Johnsons Shoes Company was issued with a […]

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15.05

Businesses urged to protect themselves from further cyber attacks

In light of the recent global cyber attack on both public and private sector organisations, the Government Department NCSC  lay out guidance and support to inform retailers on how you can protect your business from cyber attacks. bira would like to draw your attention to the below statement and guidance provided by the NCSC: Since […]

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10.05

Even into Brexit headwinds, independent retail sees strong first quarter, data shows

British Independent Retailers Association finds increased sales and store openings in Q1 2017, at a rate of 4 new stores per day Vend announces competition for retailers to win £20,000 worth of software and services to nurture fledgling growth London, UK – 9th May 2017 – Data released today by cloud-based point of sale software […]

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02.05

New guidance on dress codes this summer

You will no doubt remember the story from last year of the receptionist who was sent home for refusing to wear high heels as apart of her dress code. Now, the government is set to bring in guidance for employers. Background Last year, receptionist Nicola Thorp set up a petition after she was sent home […]

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25.04

Discretionary Business Rates – bira’s reaction to delays

Of course bira understand now that the starting gun has been triggered regarding the election that there is very little time for civil servants and ministers to undertake all of the commitments they had made during the last few weeks of this Government. However, considering that the Government has gone to the trouble to undertake […]

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