Winchester BID are backing a national campaign started by Croydon BID to raise the bar and help many more retail, hospitality and leisure businesses survive the economic impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The #RaiseTheBar campaign is calling on the Government to increase the rateable value threshold from £51,000 to £150,000 for eligibility for the £25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG). This will allow tens of thousands more businesses to access the grant and help them through this difficult time.
The retail industry is worth £394 billion to the UK economy, the leisure sector £111 billion and hospitality £130 billion, altogether totalling £635 billion. However, according to the campaign there are currently 54,638 shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure businesses in the UK’s high streets, town and city centres and in our communities unable to access the Government grant, putting millions of jobs at risk. Many businesses are facing due dates for quarterly rent payments in June meaning that action is needed now.
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) across the country have backed the campaign. Since #RaiseTheBar was launched 86 Conservative MPs have signed a letter to the Chancellor on 1 May calling for the rateable value threshold to be increased for the grant. The Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds MP has also written to the Chancellor. Matt Hancock MP committed to discuss the need to increase the threshold with the Chancellor following a question from The Sheffield Star in the daily Government briefing on 27 April. Lucy Powell MP called for the threshold to be raised in Prime Minister’s Questions on 22 April and the First Secretary of State Dominic Raab MP has raised the campaign’s ask to the Treasury following concern in Esher and Walton. Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, has raised the issue of the grants threshold on behalf of his constituents and has written to the Treasury and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Paul Spencer, Executive Director of Winchester BID said “The Government has announced an extensive support package for businesses coping with the economic impact of Coronavirus and businesses in Winchester are extremely grateful. Nevertheless, we are hearing from businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure above the rateable value threshold of £51,000 who feel excluded from this grant and are worried about their futures. The proposal put forward by the #RaiseTheBar campaign will help over 70 Winchester city centre businesses we love and cherish and many thousands more elsewhere across the country”.
To find out more about the campaign and to sign the petition, please visit: raisethebarcampaign.com.