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03.04

Emergency bank loans will be easier to recieve, says Chancellor

Bira is backing today’s Government announcement that Covid-19 bank loans will be easier to apply for and receive. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said there will be changes to proposed government assistance measures, after the banks were criticised making it too difficult for businesses seeking help. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will be easier to […]

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03.04

Free membership deal to help independent retailers through Covid-19

Bira is offering a free membership package to help businesses through the Covid-19 crisis. Independent retailers who sign up for the Coronavirus Membership Package can gain complimentary access to Bira member benefits for three months, in return for a nominal donation of £1, £5 or £10 to the Rainy Day Trust. The deal, available until […]

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02.04

Bira welcomes Government pledge to pressure banks into making Covid-19 cash accessible

The Government’s pledge to pressure the banks to ease up lending to small businesses has been welcomed by Bira.  Last night (April 1), Business Secretary Alok Sharma called on high street lenders to ease access to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) for small independent retailers during the crisis. His intervention comes following reports […]

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01.04

Scottish politicians ‘moving proverbial goalposts’ in allocation off Covid-19 grants, says Bira

The Scottish Government is ‘moving proverbial goalposts’ in allocation of the coronavirus support grants, says Bira. Bira has added its voice to a growing number of trade groups lobbying Scottish parliament over restrictions to the pledged £25,000 grants. The trade groups, which includes the Scottish Retail Consortium, has written to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes MSP […]

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31.03

Members’ survey: ‘Banks are failing independent retailers in Covid-19 crisis’

High street banks are failing to support small independent retailers in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, a new members’ survey by the Bira has revealed. Bira asked its members three key questions about the support they’ve received following the outbreak of coronavirus – and the results show a large majority are getting little or no […]

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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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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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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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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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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

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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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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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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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

New emergency funds welcomed – but must be available immediately

The Government’s £350 billion bailout of the UK economy in response to coronavirus has been welcomed by Bira. However, CEO Andrew Goodacre says the funds must be made available immediately to stop the collapse of many small independent retailers already seeing reduced trade. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the enhanced packaged of emergency […]

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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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13.03

Bira calls for uniform rates relief across the UK

Bira is calling for uniform rates relief across the UK in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the spring Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak took the exceptional measure of abolishing business rates for one year for retailers and cafe owners in England with a rateable value of below £51,000. However, […]

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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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06.03

Bira’s five-point plan to Save Our Shops (SOS)

A five-point plan to Save Our Shops (SOS) has been issued by Bira. It’s the key feature of Bira’s forthcoming manifesto which focuses on what can be done to better support independent retail businesses and minimise the burden on them. Bira is asking for the following: Urgent business rates reform – the current system is outdated […]

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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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04.03

Coronavirus information for independent businesses

In response to the Government’s action plan to help tackle the Coronavirus, we’ve outlined information on what business owners and employers can do to mitigate the impact to them. As of 4 March 2020 there have been a small number of cases in the UK but the Government have warned that the virus is likely […]

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19.02

Severe flood warnings across the UK

As of Wednesday 19th February, the government has announced six severe flood warnings with danger to life and 126 flood warnings where immediate action is required across the UK. Hundreds of locations have already been affected by the heavy rain-falls. Key locations for the most severe flood warnings currently include: River Lugg at Hampton Bishop […]

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14.02

Bira’s message to the new Chancellor

Bira is asking the new Chancellor of the Exchequer to honour pledges made by his predecessor. Bira is calling upon Rishi Sunak to retain plans for business rates reform, and for the implementation of a digital services tax so that large internet businesses pay more. Yesterday (Thursday, February 13), Mr Sunak was appointed Chief Finance Minister following […]

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06.02

Campaign victory for Bira as Scottish Parliament votes to retain Uniform Business Rates

Bira has welcomed the decision by Scottish Parliament to retain the Uniform Business Rates (UBR). MSPs overwhelmingly rejected plans to devolve rate-setting powers to the country’s 32 local authorities at Holyrood on Tuesday (February 4). They voted 103 to 10 against the move. Bira has been campaigning to save the UBR alongside the Scottish Retail Consortium […]

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28.01

Bira welcomes the Government’s decision to increase discount rates for small retailers

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed the Treasury’s decision to increase discount rates for small retailers from one-third to 50 per cent. Bira says the move will save members on average £12,000 per year. The victory follows Bira’s three-year campaign to review the outdated and unfair rates system. The increase in the level […]

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07.01

The new £20 note is here – February 2020

The Bank of England has now introduced the new polymer £20 note as legal tender into circulation on 20 February 2020. From the 20th February 2020, a new polymer £20 note (below) was entered into circulation as legal tender. It will run concurrently with the paper £20 note until it is withdrawn from circulation. The […]

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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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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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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 […]

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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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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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