Bath Business Improvement District (BID) has joined forces with other BIDs and High Street institutions to call on the Government to increase the business rates threshold of grants from £51,000 to £150,000. In Bath city centre alone, this would benefit 190 businesses.
The campaign was initially started by the Croydon Business Improvement District but has stretched far and wide.
Allison Herbert, CEO Bath BID, said, “As a partnership of local Bath based businesses, Bath BID is pleased to join in this national campaign to support businesses who are not currently eligible for government support.”
Thousands of shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure businesses on UK High Streets, town centres and in our communities are currently unable to access Government grants putting millions of jobs at risk.
The campaign message to the Government is simple; increase the threshold from £51,000 to £150,000 and save tens of thousands of businesses from going under by allowing more businesses the opportunity to access the £25,000 grant.
54,638 businesses across England and Wales are currently unable to access the £25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant [RHLG] according to the #RaiseTheBar campaign. The ‘discretionary fund’ to Local Authorities falls short of £748m to help businesses in need. #RaiseTheBar has calculated a total of £1.365bn is required to support all 54,638 businesses in need.
Within the Bath BID area, the city centre, there are numerous independent and high street shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants impacted. Ben Smithson, of Bath Aqua Restaurant on Walcot Street, is right behind this campaign.
Ben, said, “Aqua and the industry face a severe crisis and unquestionably there is a collapse imminent if more is not done by government. Removing the RV threshold is one vital step to help the hospitality sector get back on their feet once lockdown is removed and business returns to some sense of normality, whatever that may look like. This needs to happen.”
High Street businesses now face a seven-week countdown until the due date for quarterly rent on Wednesday 24th June, meaning action is needed now to allow more businesses access to the RHLG grant.
86 MPs signed a letter to the Chancellor calling for the rateable value threshold to be increased for the RHLG grant with many more MPs supporting the initiative, including Bath MP, Wera Hobhouse.
Wera, said, “Bath and its businesses are very much focused on hospitality, tourism, retail and food and drink, all of which have been heavily impacted by the lockdown and social distancing measures. I have spoken with many local businesses about their concerns.
“Given we are still some way from an easing of restrictions, it’s essential that the Government gives businesses the support they need to weather this challenging situation. I’m fully behind the Raise the Bar campaign which would make such a big difference to almost one in three businesses in our city centre.”
To find out more about the #RaiseTheBar campaign visit www.raisethebarcampaign.co.uk and to show your support for the campaign you can add your name to the petition here: www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-save-the-nation-s-high-streets-increase-rateable-value-grant-cap-to-150k-for-retail-hospitality-and-leisure-businesses-raisethebar