York BID backs campaign to raise the bar for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

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The York BID is backing a campaign to #RaiseTheBar and help save numerous businesses in the city and across the UK.

#RaiseTheBar is calling on the government to expand the rateable value threshold on grant funding for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses from £51,000 to £150,000. This would allow many more businesses access to a £25,000 grant – and stop thousands across the UK from going under.

York has a particularly vibrant retail, hospitality and leisure sector. But these shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus emergency – and will face distinct challenges when lockdown is ended with social distancing of some description likely. 

Andrew Lowson, Executive Director of York Business Improvement District said: “Government support has been greatly appreciated by businesses in York, but we are hearing from those above the £51k threshold that they feel excluded.

"These businesses are not large companies. In York, one example is a public house; the other a boutique chocolate making facility. York is heavily reliant on its food and hospitality sector and with concerns over post lockdown visitor numbers being severely reduced, support for these businesses is deemed essential.” 

  • Please sign the petition calling for the rateable threshold to be increased, here
  • You can read more about the campaign on the Raise The Bar website

BIDs across the country have backed the campaign calling on the Chancellor to change the rules and support the many firms who miss out due to being over the £51K threshold. Key national statistics are: 

  • 54,638 businesses across England and Wales are currently unable to access the £25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant [RHLG] according the #RaiseTheBar campaign
  • ‘Discretionary fund’ to Local Authorities falls short of £748m to help businesses in #RaiseTheBar has calculated a total of £1.365bn is needed to support all 54,638 businesses in need
  • High Street businesses face eight-week countdown until due date for quarterly rent on 24 June, meaning action is needed now to allow more businesses access to the RHLG grant
  • 86 MPs sign letter to the Chancellor calling for the rateable value threshold to be increased for the RHLG grant.
  • Hon. Dominic Raab MP has raised the #RaiseTheBar ask to the Treasury following local concern in Esher and Walton.


Pressures on business are ‘extreme’

Sophie Jewett, from York Cocoa House & York Cocoa Works on Castlegate, is one such business just above the current threshold.

She said: “We have had to diversify quickly and creatively to adjust to the new trading environment in a way that’s sustainable.

"Like many other businesses, we still have ongoing costs that require payment. The pressures on business are extreme which is why raising the threshold would bring greater collective support for businesses that form an integral part of their communities.

"I am hopeful that we will figure it out, we are very determined, but I am fearful that many other businesses are in danger of burning out, leaving a huge void in our high streets and communities.” 

The #RaiseTheBar campaign, launched on 21 April 2020, is calling on the Government to raise the arbitrary £51,000 business rates threshold cap to £150,000, allowing over 54,638 businesses in these sectors the chance to survive.

The campaign has secured cross-party support including:

  • 86 Conservative MPs wrote to the Chancellor on Friday 1 May, in an open letter calling for the business rates threshold to be increased
  • The Shadow Chancellor Hon. Anneliese Dodds MP has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, to bring to his attention the #RaiseTheBar campaign and the urgent need to raise the threshold above £51,000 due to businesses operating in high-cost areas
  • Hon. Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, committed to discuss the need to increase the business rates threshold with the Chancellor following a question from The Sheffield Star in the daily Government briefing on Monday 27 April
  • Hon. Lucy Powell MP for Manchester Central called for the business rates threshold to be increased in Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 22 April
  • Hon. Dominic Raab MP for Esher and Walton has passed the request onto the Treasury following local concern. 


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