Harrogate BID is urging town centre traders to back a campaign calling on the Government to increase the rateable value threshold to £150,000, enabling more businesses to access much-needed emergency grants.

Under current rules aimed at supporting businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced those with rateable values up to, and including, £51,000 would be eligible for a £25,000 “survival” grant.

However, those who are even a few hundred pounds outside this figure are not able to benefit from this financial lifeline.

Started by Croydon BID, the Raise the Bar campaign has already won the backing of industry wide bodies that represent more than 100,000 businesses across the UK.

Last year, the retail industry alone generated £394 billion worth of sales with 306,655 units across the UK.

In 2019, the UK leisure sector reached more than £111 billion in sales. The UK hospitality employs more than 3.2 million people – 11 per cent of UK jobs, making it the third largest sector in the UK, accounting for £130 billion in revenue, six per cent of all businesses and five per cent GDP.

Harrogate BID Chairman Robert Kennedy, who owns two town centre clothing businesses – Porters and G23 – said: “Whilst the Government’s rates grants have benefitted many businesses, there are plenty more that it hasn’t.

“Harrogate town centre is a classic example of this, and that’s why Harrogate BID is backing the Raise the Bar campaign.

“The retail, hospitality and leisure sector is vital to Harrogate’s economy and must be protected at all costs.

“All of Harrogate’s town centre hotels fall outside of the £51,000 threshold and so do a large number of shops, restaurants and bars.

“Whilst raising it to £150,000 will help many, but not all of our town centre businesses. A grant of this size could also be the difference between reopening their doors or closing for good.”

To support the campaign – whether working in the sectors or not – please visit www.raisethebarcampaign.co.uk and sign up to make a positive change.

“The retail, hospitality and leisure sector is vital to Harrogate’s economy and must be protected at all costs.”