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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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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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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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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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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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17.07

Bira backs plans for tougher penalties for shop theft

Bira is backing government plans to take a tougher stance on shop theft. Home Secretary Priti Patel recently announced the Government would be writing to police chiefs to advise that thieves stealing items to the value of £200 should be prosecuted. The decision follows a major consultation with nearly 3,500 retailers, trade associations and unions […]

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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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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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15.07

Mastercard and Visa could be ordered to pay back £15.4bn to UK merchants

Mastercard and Visa could be ordered to pay back UK merchants a total of 17bn Euros (£15.4bn), the Supreme Court has ruled. Following a ruling in the UK yesterday (Tuesday, July 14, 2020), both MasterCard and Visa suffered heavy defeats as the Supreme Court ruled in favour of merchants. The case was led by Sainsbury’s and […]

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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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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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07.07

Best Small Shops competition is ‘more important than ever’, says Bira

Bira is highlighting the importance of this year’s Best Small Shops competition. The 2020 competition, run by the Independent Retail Consortium (IRC), launched on Saturday (July 4) – Independents’ Day. It celebrates the best of the independent high street. This year’s contest is inviting entries from indies demonstrating specific innovation to combat the impact of […]

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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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19.06

Non-essential retailers in Wales to reopen on Monday

Non-essential shops in Wales will be allowed to reopen on Monday (June 22), it has been announced. The devolved government said shops would be allowed to trade as long as social distancing measures can be put in place. Shops in Northern Ireland reopened on June 12, and on June 15 in England. In Scotland, shops […]

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18.06

Shops in Scotland can reopen on June 29 – under strict conditions

Shops of all sizes in Scotland will be able to reopen from Monday, June 29 – as long as they have outdoor entrances and exits. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for non-essential retail under Phase 2 in Scottish Parliament this afternoon. She said that from June 29 retail premises of all sizes can re-open, […]

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18.06

Social distancing kits help members welcome back customers

Bira members have given the thumbs up to a range of social distancing kits. Online supplier, Socialdistancingkits.co.uk, has been helping retailers welcome their customers back safely with their equipment which includes protective screens, sanitiser stations and pavement signs. The range has received endorsement from a number of Bira members,  including Tracy at Harvey’s of Halifax. She […]

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16.06

Bira fights for retailers who missed out on Covid-19 support

Bira has vowed to continue to fight for retailers who have missed out on government support. The pledge follows the findings of the Treasury Select Committee that one million people had missed out on receiving any financial support during the pandemic. The committee’s report is supported by Bira’s own research which revealed many of you […]

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15.06

Government’s letter of thanks to retailers

Bira members – and the wider non-essential retail sector – have been thanked for reopening their doors this week. In an open letter to the retail sector, the Government Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets Paul Scully thanks everyone for ‘rising to the challenges of Covid-19’. He also thanks those working in essential […]

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15.06

New guidance for retailers concerned about threat of Covid-related abuse

Bira Legal has put together a guide for retailers concerned about the increased threat of violence and abuse towards them, following the outbreak of Covid-19. Ellis Whittam -Bira’s legal partner – has created the guide after  a new survey indicated that violence and abuse of shop-workers has doubled in recent months. The poll was carried […]

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15.06

Task force launches new support for retailers

Bira members are urged to take advantage of some of the new support on offer from the High Street Task Force. The Government-funded group is offering a range of cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of its efforts to reopen safely from today (June 15) and support their […]

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12.06

Will you be #OpenForBusiness?

Non-essential retailers are encouraged to post pictures on social media as they reopen from Monday (June 15) using the hashtag #OpenForBusiness. The Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is launching the campaign next week to encourage people to visit shops that are reopening and to help retailers let people know that they […]

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10.06

Non-essential retail can reopen on Monday, says Business Minister

Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirmed last night (June 9) that non-essential shops can reopen on Monday – as long as they are Covid-secure. He said retailers can open as long as they follow safety guidelines – and complete the required risk assessment – or they could face enforcement notices. He also said pubs, bars, restaurants […]

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09.06

Scottish grant scheme extended

Small retail businesses in Scotland, which share properties but do not pay business rates, are now eligible to apply for grants, it has been announced. The extension to the Small Business Grant Fund will apply to firms occupying shared office spaces, business incubators or shared industrial units and who lease the space from a registered, […]

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09.06

Reopening date confirmed for non-essential shops in Northern Ireland

Non-essential shops in Northern Ireland will be allowed to reopen from Friday, June 12, it has been confirmed. The Northern Ireland Economy Minister Diane Dodds confirmed that non-essential shops (except shopping centres) can re-open from Friday during a trip to Debenhams in Belfast city centre. She said it was a major step forward in the […]

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08.06

Bira opposed to proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws

Bira has expressed concern for proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws. Under plans being suggested by the Government, England could suspend Sunday trading laws for a year in a bid to boost the economy. However, Bira – who has added its support to the Keep Sunday Special campaign – is opposed to the proposals, saying […]

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05.06

Soho Road BID scoops top award

Soho Road Business Improvement District (BID) – a Bira Associate – has received a prestigious award from the Queen. The volunteers of Soho Road BID in Handsworth, Birmingham, have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020. It is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, recognising the outstanding […]

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04.06

Face coverings to be mandatory on public transport in England

Bira is urging its members to stock up on face coverings after the Government made them mandatory for use on public transport from June 15 in England. Tonight, Grant Shapps, Minister for Transport, announced that from mid-June, anyone travelling on public transport will be required to wear non-medical face coverings. Last month, Bira teamed up […]

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03.06

Business rates revaluation postponed in Wales

Bira has welcomed the decision by the Welsh Government to delay the revaluation of business rates.  The announcement follows a similar ruling made in England on May 6, which saw the Government scrap a bill to revaluate business rates in 2021. The decision to postpone the revaluation in England, made following pressure from Bira and […]

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03.06

Bira’s guide to help retailers reopen with confidence

Bira has created a simple guide to help independent retailers open again with confidence later this month. The 5-step guide to Covid-secure reopening takes members through what they need to do to be safe and compliant ahead of reopening on June 15. It also contains valuable guidance for those already allowed to trade – steps […]

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01.06

Retail sector guidance published for Scotland

The Scottish Government has published its retail sector guidance to help prepare retail businesses to reopen. The guidance is applicable to all retailers in Scotland with immediate effect and includes the proposal that stores of all sizes will be able to open up to 800m squared of sales area from ‘Phase 2’ of their lockdown […]

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