BUSINESS SOS CAMPAIGN

8 September 2022: Heart of London Business Alliance are supporting the #BusinessSOS campaign. 

The campaign, represents over 150,000 retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses and warns harm caused by the spiralling energy crisis is superseding the pandemic with the potential to cause irreversible damage to UK high streets and the economy.

The #BusinessSOS campaign believes mass closures and redundancies are inevitable if Government does not swiftly implement measures that alleviate the critical pressures that businesses, like households, have been facing since April 2022.

#BusinessSOS three-point-plan to support ailing businesses:

Reduce VAT

  • Headline rate reduced from 20% to 12.5%
  • Business energy bills reduced from 20% to 5% to match domestic billing

Business Rates Relief

  • 100% rate relief until 31st March 2023

Energy Rate Relief

  • A discounted kwh price on all business energy bills

Ros Morgan, Chief Executive of Heart of London Business Alliance, said: “Central London’s businesses, which were disproportionately hard hit in the pandemic, now have to deal with soaring energy costs as well as severe staffing shortages, diminished footfall, customers spending less, and the withdrawal of pandemic-era Government support. This is a perfect storm. It would be disastrous if businesses that were supported during the pandemic had to shut their doors now.

The West End’s hospitality and cultural venues have so much to offer the economy, but time is not on their side and so we urge the incoming Government to take urgent action to help businesses survive the next few months.”

Matthew Sims, Founder of #BusinessSOS campaign and CEO of Croydon BID, said: “The new Prime Minister has days to save the high street as we know it. The impending announcement on how the Government will tackle the energy crisis facing businesses will either ensure businesses can remain trading or set in motion mass closures and redundancies. To say the energy crisis is worse that the pandemic is not an understatement, it is the reality facing businesses today and why the clock is ticking for the new Government to provide clarity and introduce measures providing tangible and immediate relief.”

Andrew Taylor, Founder of #BusinessSOS campaign and Managing Director of Bart & Taylor, said: “Without immediate intervention local communities will change forever as they lose their social spaces. For the first time in living memory, energy costs are now greater than rent and increasing on a daily basis in the absence of any intervention or price cap since April. After surviving the pandemic it seems ludicrous that the needs of businesses are currently not being heard and could see the billions of funding provided during the pandemic go to waste.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “The hospitality sector is crucial to delivering the business-led growth the new Government is striving for, but we are facing an existential crisis due to soaring energy bills. We’re encouraged by the new Prime Minister’s commitment to tackling energy prices, but we need to see urgent, comprehensive action. As well as a price freeze, we need to see a cut to VAT and a business rates holiday if businesses in the sector are to have any hope of making it through the winter.”

For media enquiries, please contact: emily.cramer@heartoflondonbid.co.uk and public affairs: matt.panteli@heartoflondonbid.co.uk.