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Concern over government rescue package for self-employed workers

Published: 27 March 2020 - Alex Fordham

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed tonight's rescue plan for the self-employed. but has raised concerns that many of its members still won't benefit.

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

However, as Bira's CEO Andrew Goodacre explains, some members will still be left to struggle because of certain exemptions to the package. 

"I welcome the fact that the Chancellor is committed to providing direct financial support to self-employed retailers," he said. "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 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 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; hardware/DIY stores and health food stores identified a essential services so allowed 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. 


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