A survey of 236 Bira members, completed last week, found that 20% indicated they may not reopen once lockdown is lifted.
Bira chief executive Andrew Goodacre said: “A larger issue is that many members who want to reopen are concerned about the impact of social distancing on trade, and that may limit the ability to run the business profitably during the transition period from lockdown.
“As a result Bira is asking the government taper the reduction of the support offered, through ideas such as a reduced furlough supports, more flexible furlough criteria, extra grants etc. It is clear that the ongoing impact of Covid-19 will be here for some months and independent retailers need ongoing support if they are to survive.”
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Earlier this week, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new “bounce back” loan for small businesses. The micro-loan scheme will enable businesses to access loans worth up to 25% of their turnover, to a maximum of £50,000.
The government will pay the interest for the first 12 months and will guarantee 100% of the loan.
The loans will not require forward-looking eligibility tests, but just a “simple, quick, standard” application form for businesses.