A NATIONAL campaign which calls for special measures for struggling retail, hospitality and leisure businesses has the backing of Luton town centre’s Business Improvement District.
The Bounce Back Better campaign was launched yesterday (Wednesday) as England moves back into a tiered system.
UK Hospitality has already warned that the new Tier 3 system will result in 94% of hospitality businesses becoming unviable by March 2021. In Tier 2 it is 75% and even at Tier 1 it is 25%, placing irrevocable pressure on hospitality businesses in Luton and on those in retail and leisure sectors.
The campaign centres around a manifesto, created alongside other UK BIDs, local authorities, destinations and industry bodies. It outlines a range of packages which would provide a vital lifeline for hospitality, retail, and leisure businesses alike.
Luton BID project manager Fergus McLardy said: “Additional action is essential to ensure our town centre businesses can survive and recover from the new tier restrictions. This is vital to protect the future of our high streets and to prevent further unemployment.
“The government has offered reassurance that it will do whatever it takes to support businesses and help them to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses are hanging in the balance and need the government to provide further support in sector specific measures to stave off mass closure and job losses.
“Now, more than ever, we need the Chancellor to stand by his promise to do whatever it takes.”
Luton BID, which represents town centre businesses, has also written letters to local MPs, urging them to get behind the Bounce Back Better campaign.
Mr McLardy said: “We are encouraging all businesses to get involved and share the Bounce Back Better manifesto to help spread the word.”
FOUR ESSENTIAL ASKS IN THE BOUNCE BACK BETTER MANIFESTO:
One-off grant for retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses
We ask Government to provide a one-off ‘Bounce Back’ grant of up to £15,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 across England and Wales with a rateable value of up to and including £150,000.
This would support 137,000 businesses vital funds delivered in a manner Local Authorities are equipped to distribute at a total maximum cost of £2.05 billion.
Pause National Insurance employer contributions for furloughed employees
We ask government to remove the burden of National Insurance from employers whose staff are on furlough, saving the average business £2,000 per month until March 31 2021.
Extension of 100% business rates holiday for 2021/22
We ask government to extend the 100% business rates holiday into 2021/2022 for businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sector. Every pound saved is a pound to help businesses stay trading and retain staff.
Extension of the VAT reduction scheme
We ask Government to extend the VAT reduction from 1 April 2021 up to and including 31 March 2022.