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Eight Weeks to Save the Nation’s High Streets

UK High Streets are on the brink of collapse as the eight-week countdown to the next quarterly rent instalment begins today, according to the #RaiseTheBar campaign.

Figures released today by #RaiseTheBar show 54,638 businesses from pubs to shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, galleries and gyms are currently unable to access the £25,000 RHLG grant due to their business rates valuation falling between £51,000 – £150,000.

As part of the RHLG guidance, only those in the retail, hospitality, leisure sectors with a rateable 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. The campaign 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
  • 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 in the daily Government briefing on Monday 27 April

Love Wimbledon is supporting the #RaiseTheBar campaign which believes access to the £25,000 is the difference between survival and bankruptcy for businesses on High Streets across England and Wales. 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. Other cash pressures include suppliers, service charges and the cost of re-opening to repurchase stock and ongoing running costs.

“Teokath of London has built up a reputation as one of the best bridal retail shops in the UK. We are about delivering on the dreams of our brides and feel a massive responsibility to making sure they have their once in a lifetime dress. It means everything. Our business is our family, we all live, work and breath it – it’s our passion. With no income, we need access to a grant to pay suppliers and give us the breathing space we need to survive – without it we face the daunting prospect of folding.”

Steve Sotiriou, Teokath of London (Wimbledon)

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 of £51,000 to £150,000.

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.”

Night Czar for the Greater London Authority, Amy Lamé said, “London’s night time economy makes a huge contribution to life in our capital, but so many of these local businesses are under threat because of the impact of the coronavirus. They have rightly closed their doors to play their part in tackling this health crisis, but too many are not being supported by the government despite losing their entire income. It’s essential the Government raises the bar so that these treasured businesses can get the support they need so they are able to open their doors again when the time comes.”

To support the campaign individually whether you work in the sectors or not, you can sign the Petition to show your support. SIGN HERE

 

NOTE TO EDITORS

The #RaiseTheBar campaign was founded by Croydon Business Improvement District and Mr Fox pub in Croydon and launched on 21 April with an open letter to Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

A change.org petition is calling on the public to help save the nation’s High Streets. The petition needs to reach 10,000 signatures to be recognised by Government.