Bira supports top-up scheme for local business grant funds

A new scheme to top-up local business grant funds has been welcomed by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).

Bira has been pressuring the government to go further in its grant scheme to accommodate small businesses previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme.

In response, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced an extra £617m would be made available to keep independent retailers in business during the Covid-19 crisis.

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According to government documents, there will be three levels of grant payments. The maximum will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances. Further guidance will be available next week.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “We are pleased that the government has been listening to concerns of the independent retailers who had previously been excluded for grant support.

“Bira raised the issue with Government officials and hopefully this new scheme will allay the concerns of many independent retailers.”

The news comes as the association released its 10-point “life after lockdown” strategy, calling on the government to consider lifting restrictions on smaller retailers first.

In an open letter, Goodacre’s survival plan encourages retailers to consider sustainable retail, customer focused experiences and multi-channel sales to survive post lockdown.

Goodacre also stated that the retail industry would require government support and has urged retailers to adapt to keep staff and customers safe.

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