BID Leicester, the Business Improvement District for the city, have today sent an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for further support for Leicester’s businesses.
The letter, from BID Leicester Director Simon Jenner, calls for additional grant funding to be awarded to the city’s businesses after government announced the country’s first local lockdown in Leicester. As non-essential retailers close their doors, and hairdressers, bars and restaurants further delay opening plans, the BID is calling for recognition that the city’s businesses now face exceptional hardship, which should be met with exceptional measures from government.
Read the full text of the letter below.
Re; Extension of Lockdown Restrictions in Leicester
I am writing on behalf of businesses in Leicester city centre following the announcement made by the Health Secretary on Monday 29th June. As a Business Improvement District, we represent the interests of 697 businesses in our city ranging from independent coffee shops, to bars, restaurants, retailers and well professional services businesses.
As you are well aware, the current Coronavirus crisis has been incredibly challenging for businesses of all shapes and sizes and many of them are currently fighting for their survival. The support packages you have introduced have provided a valuable lifeline, and we have been working hard to ensure that our businesses access the job retention scheme, business support grants, and bounce back loans to enable them to continue to operate.
Our food and drink businesses, evening and night-time businesses and hair salons have worked hard to ensure they have cash flow in their businesses in order to survive until the July 4th reopening date. These businesses are the life blood of our city, they are a vital part of our local economy as employers and provide important places for our residents to eat, drink and socialise.
The delay in reopening until at least July 18th means that many of these businesses are on the brink of insolvency and an entire sector of our economy is close to complete failure. In addition, many of the non-essential retailers who have now been instructed to close are also once again facing an existential crisis.
In order for our businesses to survive the cashflow crisis prompted by these exceptional measures, BID Leicester is requesting that additional direct grant funding is provided to the business affected by the City lockdown as soon as possible. I am aware that approximately £1.8bn of the national business support grants fund remains unspent and suggest that the funds are drawn from this pot. A similar approach could also be used for any cities or regions facing localised lockdowns in future.
We will continue to work closely with Leicester City Council and LLEP to help our great City bounce back to its vibrant best in the future. I look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to provide further information as required.