Salisbury Business Improvement District

Salisbury support #RaiseTheBar campaign to support Retail, Hospitality & Leisure businesses

24th April 2020

Industry leaders, political figures and Business Improvement Districts across the country are calling on the Government to support businesses within the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors who have a rateable value of more than £51,000.

Salisbury BID is supporting the #RaiseTheBar national campaign to call on Government to expand the rateable value threshold for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses from £51,000 to any business with a rateable value up to and including £150,000, allowing businesses the opportunity to access the £25,000 grant in order to survive.

Sign the petition here.

The campaign is supported by industry wide bodies that represent over 100,000 businesses across the UK, including The BID Foundation and Association of Town & City Management (ATCM).

The retail, hospitality and leisure sector is vital to the UK economy and must be protected at all costs.

  • 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's 11% of UK jobs, making it the third largest sector in the UK, accounting for £130 billion in revenue, 6% of all businesses and 5% GDP.

We believe strongly that the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant provision and, in particular, the threshold of £51,000 to be far too low to provide adequate support to these businesses in their time of need.

Robin McGowan, Chief Executive of Salisbury BID, said: “Lifting the £25,000 cash grant rateable value threshold to £150,000 would benefit a further 90 businesses in Salisbury city centre. This funding could be the difference between survival or not for them. We desperately need these businesses to survive and for jobs to be saved, so they can play their part in getting our economy going again once they re-open. Therefore, Salisbury BID strongly supports the #RaiseTheBar campaign.”

Whether these businesses are independent or operating from more than one location, we forget those with a rateable value of £51,000 or more at our peril. Feedback from them suggests that they are carrying significant stock losses and are still 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.

To date, 80% of businesses have been excluded from government loan support schemes due to their size or European Union State Aid rules. These are some of our most adaptable businesses and the economy will need them to stave off the threat of cessation, so that they can play their role in rejuvenating the economy and contributing to community wellbeing.

Amanda Newbery, Managing Director of The Chapel Nightclub and Secretary of Salisbury PubWatch, said: “The mechanism for providing hospitality grants has been proven and has undoubtedly saved many SMEs from permanent closure. There are a section of businesses who are still small and unable to access CBILs but who operate out of buildings with a higher rateable value than £51k who have so far received no financial assistance at all. 71% of all hospitality businesses are over the threshold and are potentially going to be closed the longest. We are asking that government look again at using this grant mechanism for helping a wider range of SMEs, particularly if they are independents and if they have been unable to access any other government financial support.”

Matthew Sims, Chief Executive of Croydon BID said: “We acknowledge that by increasing the RHLG threshold up to and including £150,000 will increase the burden on central and local government. This is a price we believe is worth paying to ensure businesses are given the opportunity to become part of the greater push to mobilise our economy, rather than leaving premises empty, growing unemployment with or without the job retention scheme and sectors contracting across the board”.

Bill Addy, Chief Executive of Liverpool BID and Chair of The BID Foundation said: “We cannot underestimate the importance of our Retail, Hospitality and Leisure sectors and not just to what they bring to our economy but the people that are employed within them. That is why the 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.”

It is obvious that even with an expansion of the cap, that not all businesses will benefit. What we believe to be important is that the grant scheme is reasonably extended as critically, this will help thousands of businesses to adapt to the challenges ahead.

Our request supported by many industry leaders and businesses will, for most, offer the single biggest difference in their personal commercial fight against this crisis.

This is a collective campaign designed to support the people that 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.

To support the campaign individually whether you work in the sectors or not, you can visit and sign up to make a positive change.