Bournemouth Coastal BID has fired off a letter to local MPs urging them to lobby the government to provide more help for the hospitality sector.
Coastal BID chairman Paul Clarke, who is also a hotelier, says that the industry is seeing Christmas and New Year bookings being cancelled due to the new Covid measures.
The Prime Minister introduced the ‘Plan B’ rules following the hastening spread of the Omicron variant.
And despite not being as restrictive as last year’s, the restrictions are already having a dramatic effect on business.
The letter, which has been sent to Bournemouth MPs Conor Burns and Tobias Ellwood, says businesses need support in order to survive.
Paul Clarke said: “Our area runs from Hengistbury Head through to Westbourne and consists of many hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs and entertainment venues.
“As soon as the new restrictions were announced people began cancelling bookings.
“This Christmas was earmarked by the sector as a time to try and raise enough money to sustain businesses through the tough winter months ahead.
“But that is now looking less likely because of all the cancellations. Businesses could close for good.
“Practical support is required in the form of full business rates relief, grants, rent protection and, in particular, extended VAT reductions.
“The end of the VAT reduction scheduled for April 1 next year means the extra cost will be passed onto customers, thereby helping to drive up inflation.
“Hospitality is huge in our area and it brings in countless visitors who spend money across the conurbation.
“If hospitality businesses go under it will have a devastating knock-on effect on other sectors.
“We’re urging our MPs to take our message to the heart of government so the help that is required, is provided.”
Notes to editors:
The Coastal BID runs from Westbourne to Hengistbury Head. It is one of two BIDs voted through by Bournemouth businesses in April 2012. In this ballot, 73% of those who voted supported the creation of the BID. There are 760 eligible businesses within the Coastal BID area, with a total rateable value of £30 million.
Business Improvement Districts, (BIDs), originated in Canada in the 1980s and quickly spread to the USA.
In January 2004 the Government introduced legislation which created the legal framework for setting up BIDs in Britain. To date over 185 have been established in the UK. They have been credited with halting and reversing the decline in many towns and cities. BIDs last for three or five years. Of the 87 that have come up for renewal, 78 have been voted in for a second term, usually with an increased turnout and majority. BIDs are successful!
BIDs work on simple principles. Businesses decide what projects they wish to undertake to improve the area and their profitability. Every eligible organisation contributes a small percentage of their business rateable value (usually around 1% or 2%). From these many contributions a significant fund is built up which has the power to make a real difference.
Based on a 1.5% levy the Coastal Districts BID generates a core income of c. £466,000. Because of the power of the BID it is possible to attract additional income through voluntary contributions and match funding for key projects etc.
BIDs make places more attractive and exciting to visit, reducing costs to participating businesses, increasing footfall and putting local businesses in control of the additional services which they have funded.
For more information contact Ed Baker at Deep South Media on 01202 534487 or 07788392965