London mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the government to increase support to the capital's businesses and widen access to the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund.
Khan has given support to the #RaisetheBar campaign, which argues that the £51,000 top rateable value for applicants of the grants to be increased to £150,000. Within a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak and Alok Sharma, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, he says 19,000 businesses in London are unable to access the grant.
The Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund are only reaching 26% of businesses in Inner London boroughs, due to higher business rates valuations in the capital. This figure falls to 6% in the City of London and 12% in Westminster.
Khan has said: "Many London firms will need additional and ongoing support to survive the continuing lockdown and the exit and recovery periods, which will follow. Many face crippling rent bills and are unable to qualify for the financial assistance on offer, in part due to the higher rateable values of property in the capital."
The mayor also urged the chancellor and business secretary to introduce a rent compensation scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, while requiring banks and fund managers to give landlords flexibility on servicing debt; give further support to Business Improvement Districts and increase the flexibility of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.