* indicates required

BID issues rallying cry to government for support

BUSINESSES in Luton are among more than 150,000 firms across the UK calling on the government to act on spiralling energy costs that they say are hitting harder than the pandemic.

The newly formed #BusinessSOS campaign, founded by organisations representing retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses, says that the harm caused by the spiralling energy crisis threatens irreversible damage to UK high streets and the economy.

Mass closures and redundancies are inevitable if government does not swiftly implement measures that alleviate the critical pressures that businesses, like households, have been facing since April 2022, it says.

The campaign has unveiled its three-point plan on how ministers can throw businesses an economic lifeline:

Reduce VAT

  • Headline rate reduced from 20% to 12.5%
  • Business energy bills reduced from 20% to 5% to match domestic billing

Business Rates Relief

  • 100% rate relief until 31st March 2023

Energy Rate Relief

  • A discounted kwh price on all business energy bills

“This is such a worrying time for Luton town centre businesses, which is why we are wholeheartedly backing the Business SOS Campaign and the call for significant support to help businesses to survive the cost of living crisis,” said Luton Business Improvement District’s project manager Julia Horsman pictured.

“The future looks bright for our town in the long term, with lots of investment as part of Luton Council’s 2040 vision and the Town Centre Masterplan, but Luton BID strongly believes that action needs to be taken now to ensure our businesses are still around to be a part of all that.

“We are really proud of the offering we have in the town centre, and especially the resilience local retailers, pubs, restaurants and businesses have shown over the last few years as they have bounced back post pandemic.

“We now need to do everything it takes to make sure they have enough support in place to navigate these new challenges and we are encouraging everyone to get involved in the campaign.”

The #BusinessSOS campaign has been founded by Croydon Business Improvement District and hospitality company Bart & Taylor with the support of the below organisations who collectively represent over 150,000 retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses:

  • Association of Town and City Management
  • British BIDs
  • British Beer and Pub Association
  • The BID Foundation
  • Night Time Industries Association
  • UKHospitality
  • UKinbound

Matthew Sims, chief executive of Croydon BID, said: “The new Prime Minister has days to save the high street as we know it. To say the energy crisis is worse that the pandemic is not an understatement, it is the reality facing businesses today and why the clock is ticking for the new government to provide clarity and introduce measures providing tangible and immediate relief.”

Andrew Taylor, managing director of Bart & Taylor, added: “Without immediate intervention local communities will change forever as they lose their social spaces. For the first time in living memory, energy costs are now greater than rent and increasing on a daily basis in the absence of any intervention or price cap since April.

“After surviving the pandemic it seems ludicrous that the needs of businesses are currently not being heard and could see the billions of funding provided during the pandemic go to waste.”

More from Luton:

More business articles: