Derby BIDS Support #RaiseTheBar
Derby’s Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have joined a national campaign calling on the Government to help more businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors survive the lockdown and secure local jobs.
The national #RaiseTheBar campaign has been backed by industry representation bodies and BIDs across the UK in asking the Government to raise the rateable value threshold for grant assistance from £51,000 to £150,000 for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
At present, the Government has established two grants specifically for small businesses and those operating in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors.
They are worth £10,000 to companies operating from premises with a rateable value of up to £15,000 and a second grant of £25,000 is available for those based in premises with a rateable value of up to £51,000.
Both the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter BIDs represent and support a wide cross section of businesses in the city centre but say that many will be forced to the wall if they cannot access fresh finance.
The BID boards have written to local MPs asking for their support in the #RaiseThe Bar campaign.
Martin Langsdale, chair of the Cathedral Quarter BID said: “The Cathedral Quarter is home to some of the city’s most iconic leisure, hospitality and retail businesses which greatly contribute to the day and evening economy in the city and employ hundreds of local people.
“In these unprecedented times we are particularly concerned that many of these businesses do not have the support they so desperately need at this time from the Government.
“The financial grant offered of £25k is only available to businesses with a rateable value of £51k or less and there is a significant number of businesses in Derby city centre that will not be able to access this grant simply because the threshold is too low.
“Feedback from them suggests that they are carrying significant stock losses and are still facing immediate cash flow challenges that wage subsidies will not address. Many are not in a position to take on further debt or have serious misgivings about being able to survive the recovery and service loans.
“We cannot underestimate the importance of our Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors and not just what they bring to our economy and the long term survival of the Cathedral Quarter but the people that are employed within them.
“That is why the Boards of the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter BIDS are supporting the #RaiseTheBar Campaign, supporting these businesses’ fight for survival and enabling them to play their central role in kick-starting the economy in the future.”
Helen Wathall, chair of St Peters Quarter BID continued: “The retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are vital to the local economy and must be protected at all costs.
“We strongly believe that the retail, hospitality and leisure grant provision and, in particular, the threshold of £51,000 to be far too low to provide adequate support to these businesses in their time of need.
“We acknowledge that by increasing the rateable value threshold up to and including £150,000 will increase the burden on central and local government.
“However, this is a price we believe is worth paying to ensure businesses are given the opportunity to become part of the greater push to mobilise our economy, rather than leaving premises empty, growing unemployment with or without the job retention scheme and sectors contracting across the board.
“Locally and nationally, there are individual, personal concerns and uncertainties surrounding the economy and the effect that COVID-19 will have on them. In amending the rateable value from £51,000 to £150,000, we not only save businesses but we also save jobs.”
#RaiseTheBar campaign and the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter BIDS’ efforts has been commended by Terry Evans, owner of iconic venue The Flowerpot in King Street which falls out of the current rateable value threshold.
She said: “The current situation is a nightmare. Our three main issues are cashflow, stock and staffing.
“I have unfortunately had to furlough my team of 12 loyal staff but otherwise we feel left on the shelf as we do not currently qualify for the Government grant that would make a huge difference in these difficult times.
“It is heart breaking when we have worked so hard as a team to build up a strong business to now go through this terrible time. Without financial support us and many other businesses in the city will simply not survive.”
Matt Sheard, owner of Hunters Furniture in Babington Lane which was established in 1928 also supports the campaign.
He said: “We are facing challenges that we never thought we would have to tackle and glad that St Peters Quarter BID is getting behind the #RaiseTheBar campaign.
“We would urge the Government to understand the position we, and many of our neighbours, are in as an established and successful high street retailer.”
He continued: “Although we are still taking forward orders on our online store, we rely on people visiting our store on the high street to browse our showroom for inspiration – we are very much a people business.
“Unfortunately, we are not in a position to deliver as we offer a ‘white-glove’ delivery service for furniture that requires two people, and we can’t do that safely under current Government guidelines.
“Here at Hunters we are focussed on doing everything we can to ensure that we return to the high street for our team, business community and customers, but at the moment the end is not in sight.”
For more information and to support the campaign, please visit www.raisethebarcampaign.co.uk