The importance of campaigns cannot be underestimated. The objective is initially to shine a light on the particular issue(s) campaigning for with a view to achieving some form of success for those you represent. In the case of the Croydon BID Raise the Bar campaign, the short term success delivered millions of funds to businesses across England to businesses with policy changes at a local level. The long term success of the campaign was far greater as Government changed its policy to support businesses with a rateable value of £51k+ in ALL grants offered.
The voices across many sectors are being heard including those of many Business Improvement Districts across the country. We have always said as BID that there was always going to be a reactive element to our work as the environment in which we are working changes so rapidly. However, at Croydon BID, we underlined the need to proactively seek out the challenges and issues facing businesses and to consider the solutions before they even present themselves.
In November 2020, Croydon BID launched its Bounce Back better campaign designed to keep one eye on the present issues facing you and your business while keeping the other eye squarely on the long term future and the need for a roadmap to recovery.
Our high streets that include hospitality and retail within are the beating heart of our communities and need prolonged support designed to support their survival.
• The retail sector alone generated £394 billion worth of sales in 2019 employing over 2.9 million people across the UK
• The UK leisure sector has reached over £111 billion in sales employing over 663,000 people
• The UK hospitality sector employs over 3.2 million people - 11% of UK jobs, making it the third largest sector in the UK, accounting for £130 billion in revenue, 6% of all UK businesses and 5% GDP.
Working with British BIDs, Association of Town Centre Management (ATCM) and The BID Foundation, the Bounce Back Better campaign is supported by BIDs across the country with the aim of shining the light on the following needs:
• We ask Government to provide a one-off ‘Bounce Back’ grant of up to £15,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 across England and Wales with a rateable value of up to and including £150,000. This would give 137,000 businesses vital funds delivered in a manner Local Authorities are equipped to distribute at a total maximum cost of £2.05bn
• We ask Government to remove the burden of National Insurance from employers whose staff are on furlough, saving the average business £2,000 per month until the end of March 2021.
• We ask Government to extend the 100% business rates holiday into 2021/2022 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. Every pound saved is a pound to help businesses stay trading and retain staff.
• We ask government to extend the VAT reduction to 5% for Hospitality from 1 April 2021 up to and including 31st March 2022.
So what have we done…
The Bounce Back Better campaign launched in November 2020 with over 100 Business Improvement Districts across the country signing up to support their businesses with our simple asks.
The Bounce Back Better is a slow burn – it has a longer shelf life with asks that are not just about the present, they also focus on the long term roadmap to recovery. Before Christmas we saw a groundswell of activity in support of #BounceBackBetter with social media posts reaching all parts of the country with high levels of engagement.
Business Improvement Districts have all been sent the creative toolkit full of assets designed to help get the message out to their followers, members and supporters. BIFDs have also been in touch with their respective councils and MPs to underline the need to support the four asks detailed within the #BounceBackBetter manifesto. With media stories helping to back-up the campaign with profile, we have made a positive start.
We are relieved that the Government has listened to our calls for greater financial support but as suggested by leading commentators, it is merely a sticky plaster.
We will be asking the Chancellor to provide assurances that the funding requirements will be reviewed in the event the national lockdown in England is extended beyond mid-February.
There is undeniable support offered to employees and employers through the furlough scheme, with 9.9 million on furlough as of 13 December 2020. However, the Chancellor needs to remove the employer National Insurance Contributions for all those on furlough to reduce the outgoing costs for businesses currently crippled by the numerous restrictions and lockdowns.
Politically, we need to do more, utilising the contacts we developed as part of the Raise The Bar campaign in 2020.
The Bounce Back Better campaign will be releasing a letter to the Government and to individual MPs across the country signed by our national partners but most importantly by our BID partners across England demonstrating the need for action now to support our businesses.
It may feel that the Roadmap to recovery is something we can consider in the spring or even the summer but that will be far too late. The Government need to put in place the policies to support our economy now. This includes the Business Rates Holiday for 2021-22 and the extension of the VAT reduction for 2021-22 for hospitality.
You, your businesses, members, friends and family are all campaigners for the Bounce Back Better campaign. This is not something that will be achieved in isolation. This is a collective of voices from across the business community. We can and will make a difference.
Please forward this message on to anyone you think can help or would be interested to hear about the campaign and cc Matthew.Sims@croydonbid.com
so we can add them to our database to receive our campaign updates.