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29.05

Furlough scheme update – no employee contribution until September

Business will be expected to contribute to the Government’s furlough scheme from September, it has been announced. Chancellor Rishi Sunak made the statement as part of the daily Covid-19 briefing tonight (Friday, May 29). From August, employers will be expected to pay for the National Insurance and pension contributions towards their employees wages. In September, […]

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29.05

Could there be changes to the Government furlough scheme?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to make an announcement about official changes to the furlough scheme imminently. It has been indicated he will ask businesses to contribute to their employees wages from August – approximately  20%. Under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme launched in March, employers can claim 80% of furloughed staff’s wages, up […]

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28.05

Bira welcomes £50m fund to prepare high streets for shoppers return

Bira has welcomed a new £50m boost to help local authorities prepare high streets for reopening. High Streets Minister Simon Clarke announced the fund for councils to help their local high streets get safely back to business earlier this week. The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund will help local authorities in England introduce a range […]

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26.05

Ready to reopen? Don’t forget your risk assessment

Independent retailers will only be able to open from June 15 if they have completed the required risk assessment, the Government has warned. The advice follows last night’s announcement that non-essential retailers will be able to open again following the countrywide lockdown which started on March 23, 2020. The risk assessment will need to be […]

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25.05

Non-essential retailers will be allowed to reopen from June 15

Non-essential retailers will be allowed to reopen from Monday, June 15, it has been announced tonight (Sunday, May 25). Boris Johnson said that car showrooms and street markets would be able to open from next week, followed by other retailers a fortnight later in the next phase of restriction lifting. However, Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre […]

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22.05

Free webinar will show you how to work safely

Independent retailers are invited to a free webinar about how to make your workplace covid-secure. The Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is hosting the online event on Thursday, May 28, from 11am. This webinar is designed to be relevant for shops and branches: • This guidance covers shops that are currently […]

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21.05

Restrictions to start being lifted in Scotland

Garden centres will be allowed to reopen in Scotland from next week under the first phase of restrictions being eased. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today that garden centres and recycling facilities will allowed to reopen, and outdoor activities such as golf, fishing, tennis and bowls will be permitted again from May 28. Outdoor […]

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20.05

When can you claim for Covid-19 Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

Bira members looking to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments for employees absent because of Covid-19 will be able to do so from next week. HMRC’s new online portal will launch next Tuesday, May 26, as part of the Government’s package of support measures for small and medium-sized businesses affected by the pandemic. This […]

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19.05

Boost to business support for retailers in Northern Ireland

Bira members in Northern Ireland could be eligible for extra support after a further £213m rates package for businesses was announced today (Tuesday, May 19). Finance Minister Conor Murphy says the funds are in addition to the £100m scheme announced in March which gave all businesses a three month rates holiday. The new scheme, developed with […]

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14.05

Bira calls for clarity over government’s reopening guidance

Bira is calling for more clarity over new government guidance on the type of shops which can now reopen. According to a new document, homeware stores can now reopen along with garden centres, as of yesterday (Wednesday, May 13). The move follows Boris Johnson’s televised address to the nation on Sunday revealing a phased exit […]

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14.05

Global Payments rates reduction

Bira has stepped up its support package for its members during the coronavirus crisis. Bira is boosting its offering to members by negotiating a better deal for users of card processing service Global Payments. Members can now take advantage of greatly reduced credit card rates, and removal of PCI Compliance Fees – worth at least […]

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13.05

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – what you need to claim it

The Government’s online portal to claim from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opened this morning (Wednesday, May 13). Anyone eligible for this scheme should have received notification from HMRC via a letter, text message or email. To make an application, claimants will need: Self Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) – if you do not […]

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12.05

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to open

The online portal to apply for the Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opens tomorrow (Wednesday, May 13). Those who may be eligible for the scheme should have received a text, letter or email from HMRC with details of the application process. It is understood that, if successful, the claim will be paid by May […]

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12.05

Furlough scheme extended until October

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme until October. The announcement was made in Parliament this afternoon and means the Government will continue to pay 80% of wages, to a maximum of £2,500 a month, for furloughed staff. However, from August to October there will be greater flexibility so furloughed employees […]

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12.05

Learn how to use Instagram to boost business

Would you like to learn how to better communicate with your customers via Instagram? Bira members are invited to a free webinar to learn how to tell their business story through Instagram on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. The workshop is one of the latest events being organised by pioneering shopping app Localise, to help the […]

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11.05

Reopening indies must be part of first phase of exit plan, says Bira

‘Independent retail businesses can offer a safe shopping environment and will help keep people within their local communities’, says the head of Bira. Andrew Goodacre is calling for small independent shops to reopen during the first phase of lifting lockdown restrictions outlined in government documents this afternoon (Tuesday, May 11). He says that a shop’s […]

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10.05

Shops could reopen from June 1, says Boris Johnson

Independent retailers could be allowed to reopen from June 1, Boris Johnson said in a televised statement tonight (Sunday, May 10). The Prime Minister set out tentative steps to ease the countrywide lockdown in his address to the nation. As part of the announcement, he said shops could be able to reopen from June 1 […]

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07.05

Warning over furlough scheme ‘errors’

Small retail businesses are warned they could have to pay thousands back to HMRC for making errors on applications for the Government’s furlough scheme, according to an accountancy journal. A report in Accountancy Today says that many small business applications includes the cost of their Employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NICs) for furloughed employees. However, for […]

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06.05

No revaluation of business rates in 2021

Bira has welcomed today’s government announcement that there will be no revaluation of business rates in 2021. The move – following pressure from Bira and Altus Group – will help reduce the uncertainty for firms affected by the impact of Covid-19. Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022 to 2021, but following the recent economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic Ministers said they want […]

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06.05

Join free webinar on consumer behaviour

Bira members can gain an insight into how consumer behaviour, feelings and shopping habits have changed during the Covid-19 lockdown, in a free webinar.  As part of Rare Consulting’s Foresight Series of online presentations, members are invited to join the conversation tomorrow (Thursday, May 7, 2020) at 11am. The aim of the webinar is to […]

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05.05

Bira supports top-up scheme for local business grant funds

A new scheme to top-up local business grant funds has been welcomed by Bira. Bira has been pressuring the Government to go further in its grant scheme to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. In response, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced an extra £617m would be made available […]

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04.05

Government’s bounce back loan scheme now open

The Government’s new bounce back scheme, offering 100% taxpayer-backed loans for the UK’s smallest businesses, is now open. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the scheme last week. The scheme officially opened this morning and offers firms loans of up to £50,000 within days of applying. To access the loans – free of capital […]

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30.04

Revaluation of business rates postponed following pressure from Bira

A government plan to bring forward the next revaluation of business rates to April 1, 2021, has been shelved following pressure from Bira. Bira joined other heads of the retail sector in demanding that Chancellor Rishi Sunak withdraw ‘disastrous’ legislation, which was due to be discussed on Wednesday (April 29). However, on Monday (April 27), […]

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29.04

Bira’s CEO shares possible exit strategy

Brave, customer-focussed retailers who work closely with others in their community are most likely to survive in post-lockdown UK, according to Bira’s CEO. Andrew Goodacre has shared his thoughts for a possible exit strategy for the retail industry calling for restrictions to be first lifted for smaller shops and businesses. It comes as pressure mounts […]

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28.04

Bira calls on Chancellor to bin rates reform Bill

Bira is urging the Government to scrap plans to bring forward the next revaluation of business rates to April 1, 2021. Bira has joined other heads of the retail sector in calling Chancellor Rishi Sunak to withdraw ‘disastrous’ legislation, due to be discussed tomorrow (Wednesday, April 29). The Non-Domestic Rating (lists) Bill was introduced in the […]

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28.04

Bira welcomes 100% Government-backed loans for smallest businesses with bounce back loan scheme

Bira has welcomed a new Government bounce back scheme to offer 100% taxpayer-backed loans for the UK’s smallest businesses. Last night (April 27), Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the scheme would start next week offering firms loans of up to £50,000 within days of applying. To access the loans – free of capital […]

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24.04

Support The Rainy Day Trust’s 2.6 Challenge

There’s still time for Bira members to donate to The Rainy Day Trust‘s 2.6 Challenge. Bira’s partner charity is urging members to give £2.60 – or whatever they can afford – as part of a nationwide fundraiser from Sunday, April 26 – the day of the now-cancelled London Marathon. The 2.6 Challenge has been set […]

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24.04

New Covid-19 tests – who qualifies for one?

The Government has announced a new scheme to offer testing to key workers and their families displaying symptoms of Covid-19. Yesterday (April 23), Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged that 100,000 tests a day would be made available for the 10 million people in England designated as essential workers, and their family members – if they […]

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23.04

Bira welcomes new protection for retailers from aggressive debt recovery

Temporary new measures to protect small businesses against aggressive debt recovery during the Covid-19 crisis have been welcomed by Bira.  Today (April 23), Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced landlords and investors will be asked to work collaboratively with high street businesses unable to pay their bills through the coronavirus pandemic. The measures – introduced under […]

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23.04

Join live online chat with Bira CEO

Bira members are invited to submit their questions to a live online chat with CEO Andrew Goodacre. Localise – a pioneering new shopping app for independent retailers – is hosting the Q&A as part of its We are in this Together small business community initiative on Facebook next Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 11am. Andrew […]

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22.04

Bira members share inspiring stories of lockdown life

From making scrubs for NHS staff to providing bags of books for disadvantaged children, Bira members have been helping communities across the UK cope during the coronavirus outbreak. Bira asked members to share their experiences amidst the countrywide lockdown – and the stories reveal an uplifting sense of community spirit and creativity in a crisis. […]

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21.04

New business support finder launched

Are you still unsure about the type of government support available to you following the outbreak of Covid-19? The Government has launched a business support finder to help retailers access the funding channels open to them. By visiting support finder website, and answering nine simple questions, including number of staff employed and rateable valuable of […]

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20.04

Government’s furlough scheme now open

The portal for Government’s furlough scheme has now opened. The scheme was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of the Government’s response to the outbreak of Covid-19. It allows employers to grant staff temporary leave of absence while claiming 80% of their salary, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. HMRC which runs […]

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16.04

Bira welcomes additional support for Scottish retailers

Bira has welcomed a move by the Scottish Government to give additional financial support to small retail businesses. Scottish Ministers have announced a second phase of funding – worth £120 million – in response to the outbreak of coronavirus. This means businesses with one property will get a 100% grant. Those with more than one […]

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16.04

Furlough cut-off date extended

The Government has extended the cut-off date for its furlough scheme. Chancellor Rishi Sunak last night (April 15) announced the eligibility cut-off date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was now March 19, 2020. Under the scheme, employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap […]

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15.04

Crime unit provides latest advice for Bira members

A crime prevention unit is sharing information with Bira members in a bid to help protect their businesses amid the outbreak of Covid-19. The National Police Intelligence Team is highlighting some of the retail crime trends emerging as a result of the UK-wide lockdown. Announced by PM Boris Johnson on March 23, the lockdown included […]

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14.04

Behind the scenes at Le Creuset

Bira Direct supplier Le Creuset will feature in a BBC Two programme tonight (April 14, 2020). Inside the Factory, fronted by MasterChef host Gregg Wallace, will go behind the scenes at the Le Creuset foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand, France. The programme will be screened at 9pm and explore the care and attention to detail that goes […]

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14.04

Banks still failing small retail businesses, says Bira

High street lenders are failing to ‘rise to the challenge’ of supporting small retail businesses during the Covid-19 crisis, according to Bira. Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said new government figures revealing that only 1.4% of applications for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme had been successful were ‘no surprise’. The figures have been released almost […]

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06.04

Bira fight ‘anomaly’ in government grant funding

Bira is highlighting an ‘anomaly’ in government grant funding meaning small independent retailers could be missing out on £15,000 Covid-19 cash. According to real estate advisory firm Altus Group almost 3,700 small shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants could miss out on the money. An early payment of business rates totalling around £3.4 billion was made […]

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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 of 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

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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