Bira: ‘Many members won’t benefit from rescue package for self-employed’

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed yesterday’s (Thursday March 26) rescue plan for the self-employed – but has raised concerns that many of its members won’t benefit.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled a package of support for self-employed people unable to work following the outbreak of coronavirus Covid-19. The package will see self-employed workers paid up 80% of lost wages by the Government, capped at £50,000.

But Bira ceo Andrew Goodacre said some members will still be left to struggle because of certain exemptions to the package.

He commented: “I welcome the fact that the Chancellor is committed to providing direct financial support to self-employed retailers. However, many of our members are not sole traders and so a grant based on profit may not work for them, as our members might pay themselves a dividend, which is excluded. We need to understand the detail on this one – as with all the other announcements.”

Bira said it is calling for more transparency and detail over the financial support packages announced in the last fortnight and will ‘#continue to fight for the best deal for small independent retailers’.

Other measures that Bira has successfully campaigned for include: the reduction and subsequent removal of business rates; provision of grants from local authorities; support for employees through the employee protection grant; and hardware stores and health food stores identified an essential services, allowing them to continue trade during UK lock-down.

Bira has also launched a new dedicated coronavirus hub to help members and the wider independent retail community through the crisis. Click here for details.

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