INEXETER BACKS CALL FOR ‘SPECIAL SUPPORT’ MEASURES FOR RETAIL, HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE BUSINESSES
• InExeter supports over 600 businesses across all sizes and sectors of business
• Major regional destination for shopping, leisure, and food & drink
• Hospitality, leisure and retail businesses make up more than 58% of city centre businesses
InExeter has joined the national campaign to BOUNCE BACK BETTER calling on the Government to do more for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses ensuring the vibrancy of the city. The aim is to ensure businesses, towns and cities across England can survive and recover from Tier restrictions and lockdowns.
From Wednesday 2 December, England will fall back into a Tiered system, placing irrevocable pressure on hospitality businesses but also those in retail and leisure sectors. UKHospitality has already warned that the new Tier 3 system will result in 94% of hospitality businesses becoming unviable by March 2021. In Tier 2 it is 75% and even at Tier 1 25%.
We agree that sector specific measures require sector specific support, and this manifesto outlines a range of packages which will provide a vital lifeline for hospitality, retail and leisure businesses alike.
The manifesto follows intense and thorough talks with businesses, Business Improvement Districts [BIDs], Local Authorities, destinations and industry bodies to provide options of support to help the UK economy ‘Bounce Back Better’.
Faye Williams, The Oddfellows, Exeter, says, “The hospitality sector has had to make the largest of our society’s financial sacrifices during the C-19 outbreak. We can do anything our government asks of us with the right support, but we cannot be asked to endure individual business demise for the sake of an entire nation. It’s just too much to ask.”
Neil Perry, Cork & Tile, Exeter, says, “Our running costs are not reduced during lockdown – with our rent now at 125% for the next six months to cover missed rent during the first lockdown – all our lease hire agreements continue, insurances and utility bills – plus the loss of stock and cost to restock for a second time. The 2nd closure grant does not cover our rent – let alone the NI & Pension contributions and incurred holiday pay. We are an independent business contributing to the diversity of Exeter food and drink offer. We employ 6 full time staff and 2 part time. We have already had a 30% reduction in capacity without a 30% reduction in our costs and the new tier 2 regulations forbidding mixed-household bookings will further reduce our capacity. Without a full December trade, we cannot see how we will survive to next March”
Sargon Latchin, Recycled Candle Company, notes, “The support from the government for businesses during the pandemic started off strong in the beginning of the first lockdown. The £2000 grant doesn’t even cover our rent, let alone the bills we still have to pay during the time that we’re closed. We have also had to invest in other shopping channels such as websites improvements which has been an expense to business at a difficult time. The government has back-pedalled drastically from the support to the businesses affected by closure, and it will mean more and more will close. We urge the Government to back the #bouncebackbetter campaign.”
Matthew Sims, Founder ‘Bounce Back Better’ campaign and CEO Croydon Business Improvement District says, “The government has provided assurances it will do whatever it takes to support British businesses and help them to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses are approaching a cliff edge and need the government to provide a parachute in sector specific measures to stave off mass closure and job losses. Now, more than ever, we need the Chancellor to stand by his promise to do whatever it takes.”
FOUR ESSENTIAL ASKS IN THE ‘BOUNCE BACK BETTER’ MANIFESTO”:
1.ONE-OFF GRANT FOR RETAIL, LEISURE & HOSPITALITY BUSINESSES
Local Authorities lack the administrative and payments infrastructure required to facilitate monthly financial support model proposed by government for eligible businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 – many businesses are receiving funds too late, or worse not at all.
We ask Government to provide a one-off ‘Bounce Back’ grant of up to £15,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 across England and Wales with a rateable value of up to and including £150,000. This would support 137,000 businesses vital funds delivered in a manner Local Authorities are equipped to distribute at a total maximum cost of £2.05bn.
2. PAUSE NATIONAL INSURANCE EMPLOYER CONTRIBUTIONS FOR FURLOUGHED EMPLOYEES
For the furlough scheme investment to date of £47m to be fully effective, business support must reflect short and long term challenges.
While employees receive 80% of their salary through the extension of the furlough scheme, businesses are still paying out for National Insurance, placing greater strain on survival. At an average wage of £9.50 per hour, working 7.5 hours per day, 5 days a week, the National Insurance cost to a business in hospitality with 10 staff is £491.60 per week. Every month, on top of all the other costs, businesses will be paying out £1,966.50 – nearly two thirds of the upper limit of funding provided by the Government currently.
We ask Government to remove the burden of National Insurance from employers whose staff are on furlough, saving the average business £2,000 per month until 31st March 2021.
3. EXTENSION OF 100% BUSINESS RATES HOLIDAY FOR 2021/22
The ‘payment holiday’ for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with a rateable value less than £51,000 earlier this year was an extraordinary and critical measure saving each business up to £25,000, a total tax cut worth over £1bn.
We ask Government to extend the 100% business rates holiday into 2021/2022 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector. Every pound saved is a pound to help businesses stay trading and retain staff.
4. EXTENSION OF VAT REDUCTION SCHEME
The cut in VAT from 20% to 5% is a major boost for the hospitality sector enabling businesses to pass on a £4.1 billion saving onto consumers. With a vaccine becoming a reality in the coming months, our Bed and Breakfasts, hotels and restaurants could be a vital catalyst to local economic recovery.
Research by CGA for UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Institute of Inn keeping found support on VAT and business rates are top of hospitality’s essential business support needs. Four in 10 affected businesses have stated that the government needs to extend its VAT cut to remain viable.
We ask Government to extend the VAT reduction from 1 April 2021 up to and including 31 March 2022.
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