An Update & Membership Offer from BIRA

Hi William,
Good to catch up yesterday. I said I would provide you with an update on Bira campaigning/ activities:
1 Rates
a We have now seen the government listen to us by bringing in a 50% retail discount for businesses below £51,000. This is a direct result of our campaign. However we need to do more with the larger stores and we are pushing for an increase in the rateable value that qualifies businesses for the discount so that more business can receive this urgent support
b We are also pushing for a complete reform of rates as promised in the election manifesto. Working with the British Retail Consortium on this
c Campaigning to change VOA b giving it more resources, bring in transparency to the rates calculation and make it easier/ quicker to challenge/ appeal
d We submitted a response to the Treasury’s consultation for the budget on March 11th
2 BEIS (department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
a Bira were invited to join the Retail Council. This council is made up of major retailers and other associations and focuses on skills gaps in retail, costs burden for retailers, strategies to support retail and improving productivity in retail
b Met with key civil servants this week and discussed the views of independent retailers. Another opportunity to push for rates reductions, support with technology, levelling the playing field with the internet giants through a stronger digital tax
c Also told them that there is a ‘race’ to be the first town to be carbon neutral and this will impact on footfall in towns and further impact on retailers. It also only moves the emissions form the town centres to other parts of town such as retail parks. They are listening and will focus on helping local authorities to introduce good infrastructure to make it easier for people to get into town. d Zero carbon will become a major focus for Bira and a key area of debate and action over the next couple of years
3 Parking
a Campaigning on a local basis, involving local businesses and following the Harrogate example
b Using national PR to highlight the £1 Billion received by local authorities in car parking fees by calling it a shopping tax
a Looking to work with proactive BIDS to ensure that the independent levy payers have a voice
5 General
a With new cabinet ministers we will focus on developing relationships with the key ministers – Chancellor for example
b Working with key civil servants to influence central policy development
c Developing a Independent retail ‘manifesto’ – a document to highlight some of the key areas of support that indies need to survive
Hope the above helps. It is an example of the current priorities and on the horizon we have waste management changes, deposit return schemes and town centre funds. Plenty to do
Finally, in terms of the membership discount for Independent Harrogate, I am happy to offer 30% discount off the normal subscriptions (determined by turnover) for the first 2 years. If are interested in joining, we can issue them with a special code to use when they join on-line
Have a good meeting tomorrow
Andrew Goodacre
Chief Executive Officer 
British Independent Retailers Association, 225 Bristol Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B5 7UBTel: +44 (0)121 446 6688 (switchboard)
Tweet us @biraofficial, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and connect with us on LinkedIn

About the author

Editor - Independent Harrogate


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