Bira urges new prime minister Rishi Sunak to restore confidence ahead of festive period

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The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) is urging new prime minister Rishi Sunak to focus on stabilising the financial market following a turbulent few weeks.

Sunak won the leadership race yesterday after commons leader Penny Mordaunt failed to collect 100 nominations from Tory MPs before the deadline.

With independent retailers across the UK entering the Golden Quarter of trade, Bira insiders say the government needs to bring certainty back to the country, which could help thousands of small businesses survive what could be a challenging winter.

Jeff Moody, commercial director at Bira, comments: “We welcome the news that Rishi Sunak is the new British prime minister and we hope this ends the period of uncertainty for business and the country as a whole.

“Anything that will stabilise financial markets and improve consumer confidence will help the high street in such a vital trading period is key. We hope this restores the much needed confidence in the financial market after so many weeks of turbulence.

“Now we ask for the prime minister and his cabinet to concentrate on reducing the cost burden with prompt support for businesses on energy and tax. Also in the long term by committing to reducing business rates for bricks-and-mortar retailers to prevent further closures.”

Bira is not the only industry association calling for more support for retailers. The British Retail Consortium’s chief executive Helen Dickinson announced in a statement: “Retailers are playing their part in supporting their customers, shielding them from the worst of rising costs resulting from a weaker pound, tight labour market and war in Ukraine. However, these efforts are threatened by the £800m bombshell of additional business rates that will hit retailers in April – a 10 per cent rise that far outstrips sales growth over the last year. To support consumers at this difficult time, government should freeze business rates and reform the broken transitional relief system, or it will be households that pay through higher prices.”