09 Oct 2020

'Don't forget independent retail sector, Rishi,' says Bira

Bira is backing new measures announced by the Chancellor today - but is reminding him not to forget the independent retail sector.

On Friday, October 9, 2020, the Chancellor announced new initiatives support businesses and protect jobs impacted by local lockdown regulations, including a adapted furlough scheme, and extra loans.

However, while supportive of these schemes, Bira warns that independent retail remains in a 'fragile' state and needs help. Today's ShopperTrak Footfall Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed high street visitors declined again last month (September).

Andrew Goodacre, Bira's CEO, said: "We are seeing worsening trends on the high streets – footfall falling more than the other shopping venues.

"The potential for closing hospitality and service sectors will have a further detrimental effect on footfall and consumer confidence, driving more people to online shopping.

"Whilst it is right to support the hospitality sector, the Government also needs to remember that the fragile retail sector is also affected by any new restrictions and requires ongoing support if these businesses are to survive a very hard winter period."

Bira is calling for the following measures:

  • Clearer messages that shopping is safe.
  • A VAT reduction extended to retail and an incentive for people to shop – like the Eat Out to Help Out scheme but for shopping.
  • An extension to business rates holiday beyond April 2021.

Andrew added: "While economic support is always welcomed by Bira, it must be tangible for the independent retail sector."

Read the Chancellor's full statement here

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