Although some business sectors are beginning to reopen, many companies that rely heavily on summer tourism are forced to remain closed due to lockdown restrictions, yet remain ineligible for government funding. A new campaign hopes to help change this.
The #Raisethebar campaign began in Croydon, as a joint venture between the CEO of Croydon BID Matthew Sims and Cocktail Pub Company’s Andrew Taylor, and has quickly gained support from organisations across the country, including UK Hospitality, Beer and Pub Association and BID Foundation. Now, Bournemouth Coastal BID – covering Tuckton, Pokesdown, Southbourne, Boscombe, East Cliff, West Cliff, Seafront and Westbourne – has joined the campaign to help secure funding for businesses in need of support.
The campaign has written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, asking him to change the current rateable value threshold at which businesses can apply for a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant of £25,000. Currently, a company must have a rateable value of no more than £51,000. The campaign is asking that the government increase this threshold to £150,000.
If they are successful, they indicate this would make a further 54,638 businesses eligible for financial support. If each of these companies applied, it would result in an estimated payout of £1.365 billion.
Chairman of Bournemouth Coastal BID, Paul Clarke, said: “The Raise the Bar campaign is crucial if the retail, hospitality and retail sectors are to get through this.
“In our area – from Tuckton to Westbourne – the summer months are when businesses make most of their money.
“Without clarity and extra assistance from the government we could see many of them going under.
“The Raise the Bar campaign has significant cross-party support, is backed by industry leaders, 95 Business Improvement Districts and the Change.org petition has more than 12,000 signatures so far.
“The cost of £1.365bn is small in the great scheme of things and it could save many companies from going out of business.
“This would lead to many job losses and would have a big impact on the local economy.”