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03 Mar 2021

Bira 'broadly welcomes' Budget support for indie retailers

Bira has 'broadly welcomed' the measures announced in today's Budget - but says the 'devil will be in the detail'.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak revealed details of his Budget in the House of Commons this afternoon (March 3).

Measures pledged to help independent retailers included:

  • Extension of the business rates relief for retailers until June, then discounted rates of up to two thirds for those hardest-hit
  • Extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September, with no change to the current terms until July
  • Fourth and fifth grants for self employed (Self Employed Income Support Scheme), with more people eligible for the scheme
  • New restart grants of up to £6,000 per non-essential retail business, and up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses
  • New recovery loans scheme for lending between £25,000 to £10 million
  • Bigger incentives for businesses to hire apprentices 
  • VAT in the hospitality sector will remain at the 5% reduced rate for six months to September 30 followed by interim rate of 12.5% for another six months
  • Free help for small businesses to boost their online operation through a Help to Grow scheme
  • More than doubling the legal limit for single contactless payments, from £45 to £100

Andrew Goodacre, Bira CEO, said: “We broadly welcome the announcements for smaller retailers in the Budget; restart grants, recovery loans, furlough scheme and reduced business rates.

"A reduction in business rates for 2021/22 is welcome but we strongly believe that the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to go one step further by not giving a full year of relief to non-essential retailers. This has been done in Scotland, and such a decision in England would only have cost approx. £1bn to give genuine reassurance to thousands of retailers looking to re-build their business.
 
"Also we need an extension of the rent moratorium so that businesses can look forward to making the most of the support being made available by the Government."

However, he added: "These measures are certainly something that indie retailers can work with, but as always, it will be a matter of there being ‘devil in the detail’.

Full run down of the Budget here

Full Budget speech here

Bira published its Budget wish list here


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