Bath BID seeks further support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

By Ben Carey on 3 December, 2020

The Bath Business Improvement District (Bath BID) is backing an initiative calling for more support for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses as the city adjusts to life in Tier 2.

As one of the UK’s most popular visitor destinations, Bath’s economy relies heavily on these sectors. The city’s annual footfall is estimated to be six million, and in 2018 Bath was ranked as the 11th most visited city in the UK by international staying visitors, welcoming an estimated total of 348,000 people.

Supporting the Bounce Back Better campaign spearheaded by Croydon Business Improvement District, Bath BID is hoping to help secure sector specific grant support, help with employee costs, a business rates holiday extension and the extension of the VAT reduction scheme.

UKHospitality has already warned that the new Tier 3 system will result in 94 per cent of hospitality businesses becoming unviable by March 2021. In Tier 2 it is 75 per cent, and in Tier 1 it is estimated to be 25 per cent.

The Bath BID agrees that sector-specific measures require sector-specific support, and the Bounce Back Better manifesto outlines a range of packages which will provide a lifeline for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses.

The manifesto is the result of intense and thorough talks with businesses, Business Improvement Districts, Local Authorities, destinations and industry.

Allison Herbert, Chief Executive of the Bath BID, said, “We are pleased to offer our support to this manifesto challenge which was launched by Croydon BID. Sector-specific support will be essential to help Bath find a way through the challenges of this pandemic.  We urge the Chancellor to stand by his promise to do whatever it takes and make sure that the city does not see large numbers of closure and job losses.”

Ellie Leiper, Owner of The Grapes Bath and Director of the Bath BID, added, “The Government appears woefully out of touch with the costs associated with running a business. Costs far outweigh the £3,000 grant offered under the current scheme and more is needed to support businesses like ours to ensure the continued vibrancy of the hospitality sector in Bath.

“We are grateful for the furlough support we have received but grant funding will not even cover the costs we have for National Insurance and pension contributions, let alone rent, supplier costs and utilities. Without deeper and more targeted Government support, I am concerned that businesses will end up closing their doors forever, hospitality will not be there to help the economy get back on its feet and we will lose the employment which the Government is working so hard to protect.”

Further details about the Bounce Back Better manifesto can be found via the Bath BID website.