TheÂ British Independent Retailers Association (Bira)Â has reacted to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge of a Â£1bn support packageÂ for businesses affected by the recent surge of COVID cases.
Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: â€œIndependent retail, and retail in general, will feel very disappointed with this announcement by the Chancellor. Retail seems to be the forgotten part of the high street.
â€œShops do not have cancelled bookings to shout about. However, theyÂ do have lower footfall, cancelled trips to the shops and therefore cancelled purchases at a critical time of year – just as much damage, but just not as â€˜visibleâ€™.
“Independent retail, and retail in general, will feel very disappointed with this announcement by the Chancellor. Retail seems to be the forgotten part of the high street”Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre
â€œThe Chancellor claims to respond proportionately but he has done nothing for independent retail, pointing us to existing support schemes such as rates reductions. They do exist, but they exist to help businesses recover from previous damaging lockdowns, not to deal with a brand-new crisis such as Omicron. This is why new support for struggling retailers is required.
â€œThe high street is a mixture of interdependent businesses, from hospitality, leisure and retail. If one of these fails, the high street is a worse place to be, with other businesses suffering. It will cost the government a lot more to put right in the future compared with helping save livelihoods and jobs now.â€
Bira works with more than 6,000 independent retail businesses of all sizes. By joining the trade association, members receive access to benefits from free legal advice to preferential card rates, business banking to specialist insurance, tax accountants to music. Bira is also able to offer exclusive rates and discounts negotiated on behalf of members with over 180 suppliers representing approximately 2,000 associated brands across a range of retail.
Find out more at bira.co.uk