United front as Sheffield's hospitality, retail and leisure firms join national campaign for survival

Sheffield operators are pressing government for more financial support to save the hospitality, retail and leisure sector.

Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 4:45 pm

Sheffield’s Business Improvement District has joined 99 others and trade bodies to ask the Chancellor for three measures.

They want him to remove employer National Insurance Contributions for almost 10 million workers on furlough, a business rates holiday for 2021-22 and a VAT reduction for 2021-22 for the sector. VAT on hospitality was reduced from 20 per cent to five per cent for six months from July.

The requests come after they successfully campaigned for top-up grants of up to £9,000 for the third lockdown which do not exclude businesses in premises over a £51,000 rateable value.

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Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID manager. Picture: Chris Etchells

The ‘Bounce Back Better’ campaign was launched in November 2020 with hospitality bosses warning that under Tier 3 some 94 per cent of firms could become ‘unviable’ by March 2021. Tier 3 continued into December and was followed by the current national lockdown which has closed shops and venues.

Campaigners are sending their demands to Government and MPs across the country. As well as the BIDS, signatories will include UK Hospitality, British Beer and Pub Association, Music Venue Trust, Night-time Industries Association and the Association of Convenience Stores.

Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID manager, said: “We are relieved that the Government has listened to our calls for greater financial support. But it is merely a sticking 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.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak giving a statement on the economy in the House of Commons on Monday January 11. PA Wire photo.

A HM Treasury spokesman said: “We’ve taken swift action throughout the pandemic to protect lives and livelihoods, and last week’s cash injection will ensure we continue to support businesses and jobs through to the spring.

“We’ve already extended the furlough scheme until April, providing certainty for businesses as they navigate the months ahead. And we’ll have a Budget in early March to take stock of our wider support, and set out the next stage in our economic response.”

Last week the Chancellor announced £4.6 billion in one-off top-up grants in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for local authorities’ Local Restriction Support Grants which are worth up to £3,000-a-month, he added.

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