25 Sep 2020

Bira warns of 'mass closures on the high street' without more government support

There could be 'mass closures on the high street' if more Government support is not made available, Bira is warning.

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak cancelled the autumn Budget in which he was expected to make an announcement on the review of the business rates system.

In a statement yesterday (Thursday, September 24), the Chancellor instead announced new measures to protect jobs and help businesses struggling because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of the measures announced was the six-month Job Support Scheme, which will replace the furlough scheme ending next month. The scheme will top-up the wages of employees only needed to work a third of their hours through reduced business.

However, Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: "Many of the jobs in retail are not sustainable due to low footfall and low sales in the shops.

"More needs to be done to protect the high street from mass closures and we hope that cancelling the Budget does not delay decisions on business rates."

Bira is calling for an immediate extension of the business rates holiday after April 2021, and a longer-term review of the outdated system.

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