More than 50,000 retail, hospitality and leisure businesses are at risk of failing after being excluded from the Government grant scheme worth £25,000.
According to the Raise the Bar campaign, the Government has eight weeks to make the grant more widely available before the next quarter rent date on June 24, or risk seeing a collapse of the high street.
At present, 54,638 establishments across England and Wales with rateable values in excess of £51,000 are excluded from the grant scheme.
Raise the Bar, launched last month by Croydon Business Improvement District and the Mr Fox pub, in Croydon, Greater London, is calling on the Government to lift the “arbitrary” £51,000 rates threshold to £150,000 at a combined cost of almost £1.4bn.
Plans for a £617m discretionary fund announced at the weekend do not go far enough, according to campaigners, who say that it fails to target businesses with rateable values of more than £51,000.
Croydon Business Improvement District chief executive Matthew Sims said the £25,000 grants could be “the difference between survival and bankruptcy” for high street businesses from pubs to shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, hotels, galleries and gyms.
“Access to the [retail, hospitality and leisure] grant is a ticking time bomb for tens of thousands of businesses on our high streets and in our local communities,” he said.
“There are just eight weeks until rent is due and the prospect of going under is an uncomfortable truth the Government needs to act upon now.”