We are writing to you on behalf of over 100 destinations across the UK and 100,000 retail, hospitality
and leisure businesses to urge Government to provide a #BusinessBooster and urgent assurances that
financial support will be provided to these sectors.
It is imperative that the Government acts quickly by offering financial assistance and other necessary
interventions to those experiencing disruption following rising cases of the Omicron variant and the
impact of “Plan B” measures. With consumer confidence expected to drop below its current level of –
15 amid growing speculation of an impending lockdown, the time for action is now.
There is clearly growing concern of a lockdown following the announcement of Plan B restrictions on
8th December 2021 which must be reviewed on 29th December 2021, two days prior to New Year’s Eve.
Businesses need certainty with many holding on to the glimmer of hope that New Year may bring.
The critical Christmas trading period is in tatters leaving businesses, particularly those within the
hospitality, retail and leisure sector teetering on the brink of financial ruin and set to lose £4bn in sales.
While we appreciate risks to health due to the Omicron variant, we cannot and should not forget the
businesses who have had all but been shut down and want to continue trading safely.
Hospitality is the UK’s third largest sector, employing 3.2million people [10% of the UK workforce] and
produces £130 billion of economic activity. These sectors are vital to our economic recovery and the
current measures in place do not reflect the current concerns faced by businesses across our great
nation. We urge you to act in order to save our high streets from extinction:
We are calling on Government to:
• BUSINESS RATES RELIEF: provide businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with 100%
Business Rate Relief for up to and including 31st March 2022 [no cap]. After which we call on
the Government to support the recovery by providing businesses in the retail, hospitality and
leisure sectors with a 50% Business Rate Relief from 1st April 2022 to 30th June 2022 [no cap].
The current package of 25% Business Rate Relief was designed for an open economy, post
Covid. The rise of the Omicron variant, increased restrictions and their impact on hospitality,
leisure and retail require a response from Government that mirrors lockdown support.
• VAT EXTENSION: extend the current VAT reduction for the hospitality sector of 12.5% through to
31st March 2023 to allow the sector to respond and support the re-emergence of the UK
The current rate of 12.5% allows businesses to achieve cost savings and most importantly of all
for the economy and consumer confidence, not to pass the increased cost on allowing for the
economy to recover once more in Spring 2022.
• PROVIDE GRANTS: introduce grants up to £15,000 by rateable value to businesses within the
hospitality, retail and leisure sector to enable them to survive in light of a festive trading period
in tatters, a bleak outlook for the new Year and the impending rent quarter date of 25th
The quoted £250 million in unspent grants is not consistent in level and would place
disproportionate pressure on business simply because of their location. Vast swathes of
businesses would simply not receive a penny.
In addition to the measures recommended, we are seriously concerned that the freelance and selfemployed community which upends the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors have so far during the
pandemic been largely overlooked. We therefore propose the introduction of a Discretionary Grant
Fund of up to £7,500 per claim that will ensure this community is appropriately supported.
We represent one of the largest networks of businesses across the United Kingdom. Business
improvement Districts alongside our partners including UKHospitality, British Beer and Pub Association
and Night Time Industries Association are clear that action must come forward now to prevent a
catastrophic chain reaction to the future of our economy.
We would urge you, your Government, MPs from all sides of the aisle to consider carefully the impact
and potential loss to the economy if no action is taken to prevent the crisis we now all face
We understand that business groups are being invited to share insights to Government, and proposed
this is extended to the Business Improvement District industry. This will provide you with the opportunity
to learn of the challenges town and city centres are currently facing, and work collaboratively
together on suitable solutions during this challenging time.
In doing so, we hope this will provide greater clarity and the need to consider how the Government
might support these sectors further.
We appreciate the pressures facing Government economically but failing to act not only see
thousands of businesses go to the wall but the real prospect that billions of previously allocated
Government funds going to waste simply because we did not act to save our economy.
I look forward to hearing from you in due course.