Restaurants, pubs, and shops in Bristol are facing a risk of closure if the government does not help. This was revealed by a campaign group that has been lobbying for the government’s help through hashtag #RaiseTheBar.
The group warned that the famous nightlife in the city is under threat due to the coronavirus crisis. However, the government can salvage the businesses by offering grants.
Under the existing laws, companies and businesses only qualify for grants if their business rates are below £51000. However, the lobby group noted that due to the coronavirus crisis, every business has been affected. Therefore, grants should be availed to all businesses regardless of their business rates.
Famous bars such as No 1 Harbourside and Milk Thistle have been closed following the government’s directive. However, these two bars pay very high business rates based on the rateable value of the bar’s premises. Therefore they are not eligible for grants under the existing laws.
The campaign has been backed up by Bristol BID. The lobby group has called on Downing Street to raise the business rates on rateable value to at least £150000.
At least 86 MPs have demonstrated their support to the #RaiseTheBar campaign by appending their signatures in a letter that was sent to chancellor Sunak. The letter was written to request the chancellor to raise the threshold for business grants.
Jamie Tuck, the manager at No 1 Harbourside admitted that the bar is facing closure. He disclosed that they are currently facing a financial crisis that has pressed them to the dead-end corner.
However, Mr. Tuck expressed optimism that the business will rejuvenate if they are awarded grants to finance their operations. He appealed to the government to act swiftly to save the businesses from closure. His sentiments were echoed by Hyde & Co Group founder, Nathan Lee.