Following the announcement that an additional £2.6 million has been allocated to Leicester’s businesses, BID Director Simon wrote to the Chancellor again highlighting that, whilst the announcement is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough. Read the full text of Simon’s letter below.
We have also updated the template letter for businesses to send to the Chancellor reflecting today’s announcement. Download and personalise the letter and send to: email@example.com and CEU.firstname.lastname@example.org . Copy in email@example.com so we can use your experience as we continue to lobby government.
Click here to download the letter.
Re; Response to business support announcement
Following on from my letters dated 1 July and 17 July (enclosed), I was pleased to hear that government will be offering financial support to businesses affected by the extended local restrictions in Leicester.
Whilst I welcome this news, I am compelled to write again on behalf of the 698 businesses BID Leicester represents, who feel that the level of support being offered is not enough to offset the extended hardship and resulting financial losses they have faced because of this localised lockdown.
The opening of our hospitality sector from 3 August is a positive step, however the length of additional closures in the city means our businesses face an acute cash flow challenge unmatched elsewhere in the country.
To draw comparisons – Leicester City Council was awarded £85 million in funding to allocate to businesses during the nationwide lockdown, which lasted 12 weeks for retail and 15 weeks for the hospitality sector. Leicester’s retailers have had to endure an additional four weeks of closure, and it has been a staggering 19 weeks since the city’s hospitality sector welcomed customers – four weeks longer than elsewhere. The additional £2.6 million support announced for the city’s business represents a 3% increase in funding for closures that have been over 25% longer than the rest of the country. It is clear from the numbers this does not add up; these businesses need to be adequately compensated with grant levels more proportional to the added strain they have faced.
As stated in my previous letters, we suggest the extra support for local businesses is drawn from unspent funds that were allocated to the city to administer the national business support schemes. Leicester City Council are in agreement with this approach – they currently hold £10m in unclaimed funding, which under current regulations needs to be returned to government. Once again, BID Leicester is requesting government give the green light for the city to use these funds to provide a level of support that will make a difference in helping businesses survive.
The support government has extended is a step in the right direction, but it is essential to go further and act quickly to preserve the vitality of this vibrant city. Before this pandemic struck Leicester was on the up, attracting investment and world-wide media attention for scientific advances and cultural achievements. Do not miss this opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the businesses who make this city what it is. To fall short is to fail them and the people of Leicester, who have been asked to sacrifice more than their peers for our nation’s health, and who have risen to that challenge responsibly. I look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to provide further information as required.
BID Leicester Director