Happy New Year to our business members – I hope you managed to get some rest over the holiday period.
Last year was a transformative and challenging year for us all, and the start of 2021 has brought with it a continued sense of uncertainty as COVID-19 cases surge.
Although London has been subjected to restrictions for many months, the national lockdown announced a few days ago will be another blow to thousands of businesses who are struggling to navigate their way through this pandemic. However, we are starting to see glimmers of hope and I am encouraged that we will start to navigate out of this period in 2021. A UK-wide vaccine programme means that as each day passes, more of our vulnerable population are being vaccinated, bringing us one step closer to a return to ‘normal’ life. A life where we can welcome back Londoners and tourists once again to our vibrant and thriving city.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government has committed billions to supporting businesses across the country. Now that we can begin to see a timeline for recovery, they must not let these businesses fall at this last hurdle. The Chancellor’s announcement of further financial support is welcome, but I know that grants of up to £9,000 per property will not scratch the surface for Central London businesses who are battling with high rents and severely reduced incomes. We cannot have a ‘one size fits all’ approach and that is why it is imperative that the Government works closely with the Mayor of London to set out a clear recovery plan for London.
This year, the BID team and I will continue to lobby the Government to help foster a co-ordinated response to the pandemic, and to minimise the fallout. In particular, we will push for greater clarity across the spectrum from access to testing and vaccines, to a coherent strategy, plan and timeline as to how we exit lockdown, to clear communication and improved collaboration with the private sector. We will also continue to work closely with our local authority partners to provide businesses with additional guidance and support.
Over the past few months I have been continually impressed and heartened to see the response from our community and how we have come together. London is a unique city, the hub and heart of the UK and so I know that together, and in working closely with the Government, we will be able to bounce-back from this pandemic. It has been a tough start to the year, but together we will overcome this.”
We are keen for our business community to keep in touch with us so if you would like to discuss anything specific with the BID please contact Jacqueline Chambers.