w/c 27 April 2020
Businesses are currently eligible for a COVID-19 grant of up to £25,000 if they operate in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector and their premises has a rateable value below £51,000. Thousands of businesses across the town have welcomed the respite given by these grants but many of our favourite Southend businesses have not had access to this funding.
We can all appreciate that the Government will be unable to provide a total solution to the challenge that every business faces and the support they have already provided through the job retention scheme and business rate holiday have been greatly received. However, nearly 30% of the companies within the Business Improvement District (BID) are not currently entitled to the grant which could be a lifeline that will pull them through this period.
This is why Southend BID has joined the ‘Raise The Bar’ campaign which calls for the Government to increase the threshold to £150,000 for those entitled to access this grant. Figures have shown that these three industries generate a combined £635 billion for the UK economy each year and it is therefore pivotal that these sectors are supported to protect jobs and mobilise our economy in the future.
Clearly not all businesses would benefit if this campaign were to succeed but it would mean a further 78 of our well known Southend BID businesses would be eligible for the grant that could stop their imminent closure. This increase will of course place pressure on the Government but the alternative will put a long term strain on our towns and communities through closed businesses, vacant premises and increased unemployment. If you want to join the campaign to #RaiseTheBar then visit www.raisethebarcampaign.co.uk.
- Suzanne Gloyne