Postponement of ‘freedom day’ could be last straw for UK retailers, warns campaign group

By Julia Wray 16-Jun-2021

Save The Street reveals three in four retailers believe they’ll be badly affected by postponement

Delays to the lifting of lockdown restrictions across Britain are threatening the region’s battered retail sector, according to Save The Street.

The campaign group says the decision to push back ‘freedom day’ will be the last straw for many independent retailers who were forced to close during the lockdowns.

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay to the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England, which have now been pushed to 19 July.

Normal service had been expected to resume from 21 June.

According to an online poll by Save The Street, three in four retailers (76%) said they thought they’d be badly affected by the postponement.

The group’s founder Ross Bailey, CEO of retail space platform Appear Here, said: “Our community, many of them small, family-owned businesses, are telling us that any delay to freedom day will be very bad news for them financially.

“By keeping social distancing requirements in place for pubs and restaurants and not allowing the night-time economy to fully reopen on 21 June, footfall on our high streets will suffer, hitting independent retailers the hardest, just as spending is starting to pick up.”

Save The Street’s survey also revealed that 73% of retailers back the campaign’s call for the Government to extend Business Rates Relief at 100% until 22 March 2022.

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From July, the tax is due to be reduced to 66% for businesses forced to close during the third lockdown.

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