News Chancellor Warned Not To Forget Independent Retail Sector

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Chancellor warned not to forget independent retail sector
13th October 2020

By Justine Thompson

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is backing new measures announced by the Chancellor in October – but is reminding him not to forget the independent retail sector.

The Chancellor announced new initiatives to support businesses and protect jobs impacted by local lockdown regulations, including an adapted furlough scheme, and extra loans.

However, while supportive of these schemes, Bira – parent body of the Pet Product Retail Association – warns that independent retail remains in a 'fragile' state and still needs help.

The ShopperTrak Footfall Monitor from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed high street visitors declined again last month (September).

Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “We are seeing worsening trends on the high streets – footfall falling more than in 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.
• Bira is also campaigning for a raft of measures to help future-proof the high street.