Marble Arch London BID is joining industry leaders, political figures and other Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) up and down the country, in calling on the Government to #RaiseTheBar and boost support for businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
Under current COVID-19 support packages, the Government has offered cash grants to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £51,000. Organisations from across the industry, including the Marble Arch London BID, believe this does not go far enough.
Feedback from businesses with a higher rateable value suggests they are carrying significant stock losses and are still facing immediate cash flow challenges that wage subsidies through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will not address. Many are not in a position to take on further debt or have serious misgivings about being able to survive the recovery and service loans.
Spearheaded by Croydon BID, the #RaiseTheBar campaign is therefore asking Central Government to expand the rateable value threshold for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses from £51,000 to £150,000. This will give these businesses the opportunity to access the £25,000 grant in order to survive. The campaign is supported by industry wide bodies that represent over 100,000 businesses across the UK, including UK Hospitality, Association of Town and City Management, and Beer and Pub Association.
The retail industry alone generated £394 billion worth of sales in 2019 with 306,655 units across the UK. In 2019, the UK leisure sector reached over £111 billion in sales. The UK hospitality sector employs over 3.2 million people, which is 11% of UK jobs, making it the third largest sector in the UK, accounting for £130 billion in revenue, 6 per cent of all businesses and 5 per cent of GDP.
In London alone, there are 19,000 businesses with a rateable value of more than £51,000 and therefore with no access to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. In raising the threshold to £150,000, over 13,000 firms in London could be protected.
Marble Arch London BID represents 112 businesses in this cohort with 71 shops, hotels, pubs, cafes and restaurants in the area that would qualify for this cash grant under enhanced rules. This additional Government support would inject a vital £1.775 million into the district.
A recent survey from Kantar found that 59% of respondents would most like to go to a restaurant once the current crisis has ended. This data highlights that eating out is a vital and greatly missed part of people’s lives since the lockdown, with considerable pent-up demand likely once restrictions have been lifted.
Kay Buxton, Chief Executive, Marble Arch London BID, comments:
“Retail, hospitality and leisure are the beating heart of Marble Arch and Edgware Road. We appreciate this means further financial support that would be required from both Central and Local Government at an already difficult time, however, without this we risk thousands of jobs and entire high streets boarded up, as businesses that could have otherwise supported the UK’s economic recovery are lost.
“We are therefore backing this campaign for the good of the UK economy and in support of our Marble Arch London BID members who make our area so special. The additional funding that could be provided if this campaign is successful will save Marble Arch’s renowned hospitality sector.”
Marble Arch BID London will sign a letter on behalf of BIDs across the UK to be sent to Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP. It will also be lobbying locally for additional support for the campaign.
To support the campaign individually whether you work in the hospitality sector or not, you can visit raisethebarcampaign.com and sign up to make a positive change.
Visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre for more information about what Marble Arch London BID is doing to help local businesses.