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#RaiseTheBar campaign launches to “save the nation’s high streets”

Figures released today by #RaiseTheBar show that 54,638 businesses are currently unable to access the £25,000 RHLG grant.

This is due to their business rates valuation falling between £51,000 – £150,000.

The campaign explains how plans for a £617m discretionary fund announced by Government on May 2 do not go far enough according to industry bodies, associations and business owners across the UK, with no guarantees local authorities will issue relief.

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The Government has made clear that this fund is for specific purposes, none of which support businesses with a rateable value between £51,000 to £150,000.

The #RaiseTheBar campaign estimates a maximum of £1.365bn in Government support is needed to enable the RHLG grant to support all 54,638 businesses falling within a business rates threshold.

As part of the RHLG guidance, only those in the retail, hospitality, leisure and assembly sectors with a business rates value of up to £51,000 can access the vital grant, leaving tens of thousands of businesses stranded.

The #RaiseTheBar campaign, launched on 21 April 2020, is calling on the Government to raise the arbitrary £51,000 business rates threshold cap to £150,000, allowing over 54,638 businesses in these sectors the chance to survive.

So far, it has secured cross-party support including:

– 86 Conservative MPs wrote to the Chancellor on Friday 1 May, in an open letter calling for the business rates threshold to be increased.

– The Shadow Chancellor Rt. Hon. Anneliese Dodds MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, to bring to his attention the #RaiseTheBar campaign and the urgent need to raise the threshold above £51,000 due to businesses operating in high-cost areas.

– Rt. Hon. Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, committed to discuss the need to increase the business rates threshold with the Chancellor following a question from The Sheffield Star in the daily Government briefing on Monday 27 April.

– Rt. Hon. Lucy Powell MP for Manchester Central called for the business rates threshold to be increased in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 22 April.

– Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP for Esher and Walton has passed the request onto the Treasury following local concern.

The #RaiseTheBar campaign believes access to the £25,000 is the difference between survival and bankruptcy for businesses on High Streets across England and Wales, which have welcomed an outpouring of support from the public during lockdown choosing to support their local communities.

The grant will enable businesses to mitigate significant stock losses and cashflow challenges, including rent, that wage subsidies do not address. Many businesses are not in a position to take on further debt or have serious misgivings about being able to survive the recovery and service loans.

Matthew Sims, CEO, Croydon BID and co-founder of #RaiseTheBar campaign said: “Access to the RHLG grant is a ticking time bomb for tens of thousands of businesses on our High Streets and in our local communities.

“There are just eight weeks until rent is due and the prospect of going under is an uncomfortable truth the Government needs to hear and act upon now. The consequences of failing to increase the business rates threshold are too grim to bear.”

While Richard Burge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The Government has rightly received praise for its rapid and expansive economic support package during the coronavirus crisis. All these measures were introduced at pace, and understandably there are areas where the detail hasn’t worked for all businesses.”

Adding: “One crucial hole is the £51,000 national cap on the business rates relief grant – which penalises many small, and independent businesses in the capital simply because of the high land values in London.”

Tags : businesshigh streetretail
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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