07 Apr 2021

Why are restart grants for non-essential retailers up to four times less than the ‘Strand 2’ businesses?

Government restart grants of up to £6,000 are now available for retailers, to support businesses in reopening safely as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

However, the grant available varies for non-essential retail in comparison with other sectors such as hairdressers and personal care (Grants of up to £18,000), leaving retailers asking why restart grants for non-essential retailers up are to four times less than the ‘Strand 2’ businesses?

The reasoning for this explained by the Department for Business (BEIS), is that hairdressers and personal care services have in fact been closed for longer than non-essential retail during the pandemic, and it is the impact on the business that determines the level of grant available (rather than the re-opening date). The other reason put forward is that personal services cannot be sold on-line in the same way as retail products, and so these businesses have had no way if mitigating the impact of the lockdowns.

Whilst it is true that since March, hair salons and personal care have been closed for longer, it is debateable that non-essential retailers will have been able to operate with the same volume of sales through click and collect and online sales. 

Bira has asked for the BEIS to provide more funding for non-essential retailers, but at this point its unlikely to change, although Bira will be keeping close dialogue with the BEIS.

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