Bira urges PM to ‘give us back our high streets’

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene and “give us back our high streets”.

In an exclusive Bira survey, three quarters (75%) of independent retailers said trade is being “detrimentally impacted” by lockdown road closures.

The survey revealed that two thirds (66.1%) of retailers said they had been affected by road closures, with 80% of those closures had been put in place during lockdown or since restrictions were lifted.

Some 55% said trade had been impacted “significantly”, while a further 20% admitted the closures had affected trade “a little”.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “It would appear that local authorities have decided to keep shoppers safe by deterring them from visiting the high streets at all.

“All around the UK we are seeing temporary road closures put in place, and all around the UK we are hearing from members who are seeing their business disappear as a result.The changes have removed valuable parking spaces, reduced access and even made it impossible for people with disabilities to visit their favourite shops.

He added: “Many of these closures have been done without proper consultation and without any thoughts to the business. The PM wants people to return to normal, so please give us back our high streets and remove these physical barriers to visiting the high street and shopping.”

The news comes as Bira has welcomed government plans to take a tougher stance on shoplifting.

Home Secretary Priti Patel recently announced the Government would be writing to police chiefs to advise that shoplifters stealing items to the value of £200 should be prosecuted.

The decision follows a major consultation with nearly 3,500 retailers, trade associations and unions which suggested abuse towards shop staff had increased, with a ‘significant number’ saying they did not report incidents to the police.

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