There is no doubting the welcome messages from the Government as part of the Chancellor’s announcements today (8 July). However, an important aspect of the support is lost, leaving many businesses who have been closed for over three months without the appropriate financial support during and indeed as they begin to reopen.
The Chancellor says he will never accept unemployment is unavoidable yet he is turning a blind eye to the hard truth that employees of over 55,000 businesses across England and Wales will soon lose their jobs as their employers have been overlooked and ignored at every turn for financial support.
Over 400+ retail, hospitality and leisure businesses across Sheffield are still exempt from existing grants and funding schemes, and the very grant that should be their lifeline. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant [RHLG], is bound by out of date and arbitrary guidance on business rates, with these businesses falling outside of the set eligibility requirements.
It was revealed earlier this week that local authorities have an underspend of £1.7bn on grants and funding and we are calling on the Government to act now and redirect this surplus to the Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant [RHLG] and increase the rateable value threshold for eligibility from £51,000 to £150,000.
Doing this will save jobs, reduce unemployment, protect skills and help restart the hospitality and tourism sectors which the Chancellor today stated are vital to reopening the UK economy.