Moving into Tier 3 Requires More Support

BID Leamington is backing calls for urgent government support for hospitality and leisure sector businesses as those in the town centre reel from the shock of being put in the highest level of Coronavirus restrictions.

The business-led organisation for the town centre says these sectors will be the hardest hit by the new regional Tier 3 restriction which comes into force after the national lockdown is lifted.

And it says greater government support is needed to ensure those facing restrictions can stand the best chance of surviving the pre-Christmas clampdown in their busiest month of trading.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington, said there was surprise and disappointment among the town centre business community at Leamington being placed in Tier 3 restrictions with the rest of Coventry and Warwickshire.

She said: “With Leamington having been in the lowest regional tier prior to the latest national lockdown, many were surprised to be moved to be moved into the highest Tier.

“We are pleased that retail has been given a real lifeline in being able to open and we continue to urge people to shop local, but businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector will be hardest hit and face the burden of significant financial losses at their most important time of year.

“Some had stocked up in anticipation of being able to open their doors fully after December 2 but will now have to remain closed until at least December 16 when the tier system is due to be reviewed.

“Existing grant support falls significantly short of covering ongoing business expenses, so there is a very real danger of hospitality businesses falling by the wayside unless the government steps in quickly with additional support to ensure they can remain viable.”

UKHospitality has already warned that the new Tier 3 system will result in 94 per cent of hospitality businesses becoming unviable by March 2021. In Tier 2 it is 75 per cent and in Tier 1 it is 25 per cent.

Whist recognising funding challenges, BID Leamington is backing a nationwide call for special support measures for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses facing the toughest restrictions.

The ‘Bounce Back Better’ campaign is asking for a one-off grant of £15,000 for those businesses in Tier 2 and 3 with a rateable value of up to £150,000, and a pause on National Insurance and employer contributions for furloughed employees.

It is also seeking an extension of the 100 per cent business rates holiday and the VAT reduction scheme.

Town centre businesses in need of information and support can make contact with the BID team at info@bidleamington.com or go to www.bidleamington.com. To find out how to support businesses by shopping local, visit www.loveleamington.com and follow @LeamingtonGuide. To find out about ‘Bounce Back Better’ please visit www.raisethebarcampaign.com.