The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed a new £50m boost to help local authorities prepare high streets for reopening.

The Reopening High Streets Safely Fund was announced by High Streets Minister Simon Clarke, following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that non-essential retailers will be able to reopen on 15 June, 2020.

The fund will help local authorities in England introduce a range of safety measures, such as new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. This will help get businesses ready for when they can begin trading safely.

Commenting on the fund, Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: “We are pleased about this as it is an issue we consistently raised with the government. If shops are re-opening, the high street also has to be ready. Now we would like to see local authorities work with independent retailers to ensure the money is spent well.”

Bira is also offering UK independent retail businesses temporary membership of the Association for three months for a nominal fee of £1, £5 or £10, with all the proceeds being donated to the Rainy Day Trust. Any UK independent retailer can sign up for membership until Tuesday 30 June 2020 and will then be granted access to nearly all the Association’s membership benefits, including access to the Bira Legal telephone support service (although legal expenses cover is reserved for fully paid Bira members).