Council leader urges government to raise the bar

Council leader urges government to raise the bar

St Helens Council’s Leader is backing the Raise the Bar campaign to support retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in St Helens Borough.

Councillor David Baines has written to business secretary Alok Sharma urging them to expand the grant schemes to more of St Helens Borough’s businesses.

So far St Helens Council has distributed more than £18m in grants to more than 1,600 businesses that meet the criteria.

The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) is only available to businesses with a rateable value of up to £51,000 which means a large number of businesses in our borough are left without any support.

But Raise the Bar campaign is asking government to reconsider and amend its rules to include more businesses in the industries that have been forced to close to help tackle coronavirus.

Raise the Bar wants the £25,000 grant expanded to businesses whose rateable values are between £51,000 and £150,000.

Councillor Baines said: Councillor Baines said: “The retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are vital to the UK economy and account for a huge part of our economy and create thousands of jobs. St Helens Council staff are working hard to make sure that businesses eligible for the grants already announced by government get their money as quickly as possible, and those businesses who have benefitted from that have already told us they are grateful to be helped out quickly.

“But there are many more in our borough who have missed out on this support, which could be the difference between them having a business to open when restrictions are relaxed or not.

“The Raise The Bar campaign acknowledges that increasing the RHLG threshold up to and including £150,000 will increase the financial burden on central government, but we simply have to make sure that these businesses are supported so that they can become part of the greater push to mobilise our economy in the recovery that must follow this crisis, rather than leaving premises empty, growing unemployment, and depleted high streets and town centres.”

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