Last week the BRC gave evidence to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee, as well as the London Assembly's Economy Committee.
The Parliamentary Select Committee was taking evidence for its Inquiry 'into supporting high streets after Covid', and the BRC gave evidence alongside the Charity Retail Association and USDAW, the shopworkers' union.
We pressed home to the Committee the fact that retail is a safe environment for both staff and customers following hundreds of millions of pounds of investment by retailers into making their stores Covid-secure. Including 'non-essential' retail in the current English lockdown was therefore unwelcome, although we understand the need to reduce the infection rate. The BRC welcomed existing measures to help otherwise viable businesses survive the past six months, and called for continued Government support to help retailers continue to survive and employ people and generate tax receipts.
The London Assembly's Economy Committee was looking at the impact of Covid and the current lockdown on London's Christmas economy. We reminded the Committee that this 'golden quarter' is key for retailers to turn a profit, particularly before the lean months of January-March, and so the impact of the current lockdown is disproportionately felt in retail, as well as other sectors such as hospitality. The BRC urged the Committee to recommend to the Mayor that he develop a recovery strategy for London and highlight the safety of public transport and encourage Londoners to get out and enjoy their city more, whether for shopping or other activities.