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Ipswich Central joins #BusinessSOS campaign

Ipswich Central joins national #BusinessSOS campaign lobbying for more government support for businesses through the cost of living crisis.

The newly formed #BusinessSOS campaign, founded by over 150 UK Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), representing over 150,000 retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses, warns the 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 the Government does not do not to 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%; with 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: Enhanced discount kwh price on all business energy bills

Sophie Alexander-Parker, CEO of Ipswich Central, says:

"As utility bills continue to skyrocket, with minimal support for businesses, thousands of businesses are seriously worried about how they can survive the winter. The government must do more to provide relief for businesses; to ensure that communities and livelihoods can pull-through. Whilst we welcome the government's six-month cost-per-unit cap on energy bills, this does not go far enough to support businesses who are desperately concerned about rising costs. Along with over 150 BIDs taking part in the BusinessSOS campaign, we will continue to lobby for more support for businesses and livelihoods."

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.”

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.”

Ojay McDonald, CEO of Association of Town and City Management said,

“Right now, businesses are already deciding to scale back or shut up shop for good. The knock-on impact on employment is unimaginably bad. We need decisive action from the government now to save the high street.

Let's not shy away from how comprehensive this support needs to be. Energy prices have been unsustainable for months. We are at the stage where a price freeze is inadequate. Discounts on the cost of energy are vital. We also need to halt the decline of consumer confidence to keep businesses trading. That's why this three-point plan on energy, VAT and businesses rates as a combination is the right route to take.”

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said:

“The pub and brewing sector makes a huge contribution to our economy in high streets and local communities throughout the country, yet it still remains in a precarious position after the pandemic. Immediate action on energy is critical, but investment in our sector for the long-term is also essential. As the PM works towards a fiscal statement and full budget we hope she will seriously consider a cut to business rates and VAT so Britain’s pubs and brewers can get back on their feet fully and thrive in the communities they proudly serve.”

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