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Bira calls for Coronavirus business fund

Published: 5 March 2020 - Alex Fordham
 

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is calling for the Treasury to set up an emergency business fund to help those affected by coronavirus. 

The plea comes as part of Bira's statement to chancellor Rishi Sunak ahead of next Wednesday's Budget. Bira is calling for a number of measures to support small retail businesses through the coronavirus emergency including:

  • An immediate increase in the business rates discount to 75%, and extended to more businesses until this emergency has passed
  • Tax holidays to support cash flow in businesses that will see significantly reduced sales – this could include reduced VAT, rates for larger businesses, etc
  • Support for retailers when dealing with employees who are required to self isolate.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira's CEO, said: "We need immediate action to support the economy."

Bira is also hoping Mr Sunak's first budget will include strategy for comprehensive reforms of the unfair and outdated business rates system, reducing the burden on high street retailers. There also needs to be more ambitious plans for the new Digital Services Tax with online companies making a much larger contribution to the cost of running a business in the UK.

Goodacre added: "We have all seen images from towns and cities in Europe that show deserted high streets and empty shops. The Budget needs to support the economy and we must ensure that the high street receives some of that support." 
 

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The coronavirus (Covid-19) is affecting everyone and completely changed our way of lives for the foreseeable future. Small business owners and the self-employed have been hit particularly hard financially, with many not being able to work or having to close up completely. DIY Week is keen to learn how you are coping and to share this information with others who may well be in the same boat, so thank you for taking part in this survey.
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