Swansea BID (Business Improvement District) has joined a campaign to urge the Welsh Government to expand the rateable value threshold for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, to allow businesses that are currently missing out the opportunity to access the £25,000 grant in order to survive.
The #RaiseTheBar campaign is pushing for the threshold to be lifted from £51,000 to any business with a rateable value up to and including £150,000. If successful, it would help around 150 hard-hit firms within the Swansea BID area to stay afloat.
The campaign is supported by industry-wide bodies that represent more than 100,000 businesses across the UK, with Croydon BID leading #RaiseTheBar and other BIDs in the UK, including Swansea BID, adding their weight to it.
Russell Greenslade, Chief Executive of Swansea BID, says:
“We cannot underestimate the importance of our retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, for the value they bring to our economy here in Swansea, and for the jobs they supply. Swansea City Centre is, along with other town and city centres across Wales, being badly bruised by the coronavirus crisis. Everything that can be done must be done to help our businesses come out the other side of this intact, and ready to pick up the threads.
“We believe the threshold of £51,000 is far too low to provide adequate support to these businesses in their time of need. That is why business improvement districts across the UK are supporting the #RaiseTheBar Campaign in asking government to increase the retail, hospitality and leisure rateable value threshold from £51k to £150k. In doing so, more business will have access to a £25k grant supporting their fight to survive and to allow them to play their central role in kick-starting our economy.
“The retail, hospitality and leisure sector is vital to the UK economy. The retail industry alone generated £394 billion worth of sales in 2019 with 306,655 units across the UK. In 2019, the UK leisure sector reached over £111 billion in sales. The UK hospitality employs over 3.2 million people, that is 11 percent of UK jobs, making it the third largest sector in the UK, accounting for £130 billion in revenue, 6 percent of all businesses and 5 percent GDP.
“Whether these businesses are independent or operating from more than one location, feedback from those with a rateable value of £51,000 or more suggests they are carrying significant stock losses and are 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.
“#RaiseTheBar is a collective campaign designed to support the people who work for and run businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Across the UK, 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.”
Individuals can support the campaign by visiting: www.raisethebarcampaign.co.uk to add their voice.