April 23, 2020 @ 16:05 by Richard Dawson
Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID) has joined a national call for the Government to offer more support to help the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors survive.
Under the current scheme, only businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000 are entitled to a £25,000 grant.
Meanwhile, 80 per cent of businesses in these sectors, which in total contribute £635 billion to the UK economy, are not eligible for grants and must instead apply for loan schemes.
Launched by Croydon BID, the #RaiseTheBar campaign is asking Government to move the threshold from £51,000 to £150,000, allowing more businesses to access the £25,000 grant.
Doing so would ease some of the financial pressures many retail and leisure operators are under, the campaign says.
#RaiseTheBar is fully support by Sunderland BID, which represents many businesses who fall into this category.
Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at Sunderland BID, said: “This is a crucial time for all businesses, and we know that many are missing out on getting this Government grant because of their rateable value.
“The value that these sectors bring to our local economy and to the economy of towns and cities across the UK is huge and they absolutely need our support.
“We are fully behind this campaign and will be adding our voice to those of other BIDS, British BIDS, the BID Foundation, industry trade bodies and politicians to lobby the Government to raise the current threshold.”
As part of the unified campaign, #RaiseTheBar has written to the Business Secretary Alok Sharma, to highlight the plight of many operators and lobbying the Government to widen access to its grants.