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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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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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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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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

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Readiness Bulletin – Issue 3

This business readiness bulletin provides important information for you and your business on Coronavirus (COVID-19), including the latest GOV.UK guidance. The Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide further advice for business today, Tuesday 17 March. Further information and links to the Chancellor’s statement will be circulated in tomorrow’s bulletin.   NEW – Exceptional travel advisory […]

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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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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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12.03

Tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)

New HMRC helpline launched to help businesses concerned about paying their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to support businesses and self-employed people concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus (COVID-19). The helpline allows any business or self-employed individual who is concerned about […]

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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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19.02

Government consultation on increasing the number of Changing Places Toilets

Last summer the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) consulted on increasing the provision of large, well-equipped disabled toilets, known as Changing Places Toilets in public places in England. Although the website at that link says the consultation has closed, the background documents are available there and we have recently reopened a Survey […]

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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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12.02

Government calls for items not suitable for people with dementia to be removed from sale

The Government’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 sets out their ambition to be the best country in the world for people with dementia to live in. A key part of that vision is for those individuals to receive meaningful care, allowing them to live as well as possible with dementia. Earlier this year, it came to […]

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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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31.01

UK gets ready to leave the EU

The UK  leaves the EU at 23:00 GMT today (Friday 31st January 2020). Prime Minister Boris Johnson will publish a video message to hail the “dawn of a new era” at 22:00. But how will Brexit affect independent retail businesses in the UK? Bira CEO, Andrew Goodacre comments: “After 3 years of uncertainty we will […]

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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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24.01

Treorchy high street crowned ‘UK’s best’ in Great British High Street Awards

Treorchy has been crowned ‘High Street of the Year’, with ‘Rising Star of the Year’ awarded to The Square, Kelso in the Government-run Great British High Street Awards 2019, in partnership with Visa The high streets, commended for innovation and community engagement, win £15,000 for the local community Champion and Rising Star high streets across […]

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22.01

Online retail on the rise over the Christmas period?

The Christmas period, as well as the lead up to it, is an important time for retailers. As one of the busiest periods of the year and just after the Black Friday rush, business owners all over the UK have been busy packaging orders, marketing their Boxing Day sales and re-stocking their inventory. But has […]

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14.01

What have Bira been up to in January?

Working with Scottish Retail Consortium to retain Uniform Business Rates due to the proposal to allow local authorities in Scotland to set their own rates. We have submitted a response to a general consultation and done a joint letter to all MSPs (Members of Scottish Parliament). We think this is important because we fear that […]

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14.01

The rising threat of Employment Tribunal claims | What new quarterly statistics tell us

If you’re concerned about the significant spike in Employment Tribunal claims in recent years, it’s not time to breathe out just yet. The latest round of statistics from the Ministry of Justice, which allow us to compare the period from July to September 2019 with the same quarter last year, reveal that the fallout from […]

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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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07.11

Bristol deli Papadeli named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2019

A Bristol-based deli with a reputation for incredible cakes and superb takeaway dishes, cooked on site, has been named as Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2019. Papadeli stocks a selection of foods from local producers and further across Europe and claims one of the best cheese counters in the city. Also on offer is the […]

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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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03.10

The Excellence in Housewares Awards 2019 Winners Announced

Bira members amongst the winners at the 2019 Excellence in Housewares Awards Organised by Progressive Housewares magazine in conjunction with Bira, the Awards night took place at the Royal Lancaster London where nearly 400 movers and shakers of the housewares industry gathered to celebrate into the early hours. Awards host was popular televised comedian Stuart […]

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27.09

Xmas appeal by RDT charity

Got any excess stock you don’t need? Why not donate it to trade charity Rainy Day Trust to help its annual Christmas appeal? Or perhaps you can put an RDT collecting tin by your till for customers to chip in? Every year the charity sends out a hand-written Christmas card and a little food hamper […]

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11.09

Calls for Andrea Leadsom to provide clarity on what Brexit means for the workforce

Bira has joined a number of associations, writing to Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, calling for greater clarity on what Brexit will mean for the UK workforce.   With many independent businesses, both within Bira’s membership and also the British Agricultural Garden Machinery Association’s (BAGMA) relying heavily on foreign […]

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14.08

Mica joins as a new division of the British Independent Retailers Association

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), the UK’s largest trade association for independent retail stores, has today confirmed an investment in Mica, which will see the co-operative group join the association as a new division. Mica and it’s 50+ hardware, DIY and garden stores across the UK have longstanding reputation for fierce independence and excellent […]

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17.01

Reducing the card security burden

The aim is to ensure every company that accepts, processes, holds or transmits card information does so in a safe and secure manner. One of the best ways to do this is literally to reduce or remove the data that you store and limit the number of systems involved in the processing of card data. […]

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18.07

Employee claims rise for the second year running

The latest round of Employee Tribunal statistics has now been released – giving employers a full year picture to compare against the year prior. Broadly speaking, the findings are as expected, with the overall claims trajectory continuing in much the same way as it has been since employee tribunal fees were abolished back in 2017. […]

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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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27.06

Meet your new National President

Howard Pullen of Howard Pullen Machinery in Loxwood, West Sussex succeeded Surinder Josan of All Seasons DIY, in Smethwick, West Midlands, as Bira National President at the Bira AGM on the 20th June. Howard is the second member of the British Agricultural and Garden Machinery Association (BAGMA), which is a part of the Bira family, […]

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05.06

BRC figures show retail sales slump but what does this mean for the independents?

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium today show a 2.7% slump in retail sales, the biggest dip in 24 years. In response, Andrew Goodacre CEO of the British Independent Retail Association, Bira said: “The disappointing figures reported by the BRC are reflective of the challenging times retail faces as a whole. We saw encouraging […]

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28.05

2018 sees growth in independent stores across shopping centres as landlords look for diversity and unique occupiers to replace closing chains

Data released today (28th May) by the Local Data Company and the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) shows that 2018 saw growth in the number of independent stores in shopping centres, with 1,951 new openings leading to a net gain of +87 (+1.1%) compared to a net decline of -88 in 2017 (-1.1%). Independent retailers […]

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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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10.05

Independent retailer exceeds previous years’ annual online turnover in just one month!

It’s been another disappointing year for the high street, but there has been some very good news for one independent retailer. Sarah at Artichoke has seen her profits soar, despite the declining footfall, and recounts how in just one month she exceeded her previous year’s entire online annual turnover! These are huge statistics and Sarah […]

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