The city’s Business Improvement District is supporting a national campaign launched today, Monday, December 20.
The #BusinessBooster campaign wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak on behalf of over 100 BIDS across the UK and 100,000 retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, with a list of support needed to help these industries survive.
#BusinessBooster was started by Croydon BID and says urgent action needs to be put in place amid growing concern the country faces yet another lockdown.
The letter, from Croydon Bid chief executive Matthew Sims, says the critical Christmas trading period “is in tatters” amid new fears about the Omicron covid variant, and companies are on the brink of financial ruin, with up to £ 4 billion in lost sales nationwide.
“While we appreciate the health risks from the Omicron variant, we cannot and should not forget companies that have been virtually closed and want to continue to do business safely,” he says.
The measures outlined in the letter include a 100% reduction in commercial tariffs for the first three months of 2022, followed by a 50% rate from April 1 to June 30.
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He also calls for a reduction in VAT to 12.5% for businesses in the worst affected sectors as well as grants of £ 15,000 to help them survive until business returns to normal.
Sharon Appleby, CEO of Sunderland BID, is supporting the campaign and is now distributing the letter to MPs, councilors and council officials across town.
“This is once again a time of great concern for industries which were previously the hardest hit by the restrictions and now face uncertainty over what new rules might be introduced,” she said.
“While it is important that we do everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of people, it is also vital to the local economy that the government recognizes the impact that a possible new lockdown could have.
“We fully support this national campaign which calls on the government to act now and support vulnerable sectors to ensure their survival. “