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Orpington 1st calls on government for essential support amid lockdown speculation

Added on: 20th December, 2021 by O1

Orpington 1st calls on government for essential support amid lockdown speculation

Last Updated:
Mon, 20 December 2021

Orpington 1st has joined a national campaign calling on the government to deliver a #BusinessBooster to high street businesses following the introduction of the latest covid guidelines.

A group representing 100,000 retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses - including Orpington 1st BID, which works on behalf of 350 businesses in Orpington town centre - has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak urging government action in response to rising Omicron cases and the impact of ‘Plan B’.

Measures recommended include 100% discount on Business Rates until the end of the financial year, VAT for Hospitality to be fixed at 12.5% until March 2023, and grants of up to £15k.

Concerns from employers across the country’s hospitality sector, which accounts for 10% of the UK workforce, hit the headlines last week after a dip in consumer confidence saw a flood of covid-related cancellations.

Alarm bells are also ringing for retailers and leisure businesses as visits to UK High Streets fell during the critical Christmas trading period.

Orpington 1st BID Manager, Chris Travers, said: “Throughout the pandemic our members have shown great resilience and innovation to keep business moving, adapting to extremely challenging circumstances and working to keep customers safe. But many have been depending on a good Christmas trading period this year. We need decisive action from the government. Providing financial assistance now to businesses in these sectors is vital to the nation’s economic recovery.”

Matthew Sims, CEO of Croydon BID and Founder of the Business Booster campaign, said: "It is baffling and alarming that our Chancellor is doggedly sticking to measures which are out of date and out of touch with the stark and desperate reality retail, hospitality and leisure are facing. Without swift intervention, many businesses will be faced with closures, layoffs and cutbacks masking the significant financial support Government has ploughed into these sectors during the pandemic a woeful waste of money."

British BIDs, The BID Foundation, Association of Town & City Management, are among industry bodies which have co-signed the letter, urging government to “consider carefully the impact and potential loss to the economy if no action is taken to prevent the crisis we now all face economically.” Copies have also been sent to MPs and councillors.

Read the letter HERE

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