Support needed for independents says Bira

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is calling for immediate access to financial support for the small business owners effected by the Government-imposed lockdown of the country.

Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre said small independent retailers affected by the new shut-down measures need ‘details and transparency’ when it comes to accessing the support available to them.

Boris Johnson announced a UK-wide lockdown including the closure of all non-essential shops in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. Under the new measures, Brits will only be able to travel out for essential goods, medical needs, and brief exercise. Shops which will be allowed to remain open are: supermarkets, pet stores, hardware stores, pharmacies, newsagents, banks and post offices.

Speaking after the measures were announced, Goodacre said: “We understand the need to protect customers and employees from Covid-19 and so more shop closures were inevitable.

“We have already seen many members make the decision before being told to do so. The list of those shops that can stay open is a logical list, except I would have included health stores which often perform an essential service to their community.

“It is now even more important for the details of the various support packages to be made available in detail and with transparency. We are still hearing about local authorities claiming not to know about the grants and the there is limited information on the employment protection grant.

“We note that closed shops can still trade online and deliver products, and Bira will be helping members adjust their business model.”