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BUSINESS SOS - Businesses campaign for cost of living support


Orpington 1st has joined forces with colleagues across the country calling on the government to support businesses through the cost of living crisis.

The newly formed #BusinessSOS campaign, founded by organisations representing over 150,000 retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses, warns harm caused by the spiralling energy crisis is superseding the pandemic, with the potential to cause irreversible damage to UK high streets and the economy.

#BusinessSOS three-point-plan to support ailing businesses:

Reduce VAT

  • Headline rate reduced from 20% to 12.5%
  • Business energy bills reduced from 20% to 5% to match domestic billing

Business Rates Relief

  • 100% rate relief until 31st March 2023

Energy Rate Relief

  • A discounted kwh price on all business energy bills


CB Business SOS Logo

Chris Travers, Executive Director of Orpington 1st BID, said, “Orpington’s business community has shown resilience and adaptability through what has been a challenging period, but without significant and swift government intervention on the crisis we now face, we will see the preventable loss of businesses and jobs. This three-point plan will give businesses the chance to help achieve the growth which the Government is targeting.”

Campaign members believe mass closures and redundancies are inevitable if Government does not swiftly implement measures that alleviate the critical pressures that businesses, like households, have been facing since April 2022.

Matthew Sims, Founder of #BusinessSOS campaign and CEO of Croydon BID said, “The new Prime Minister has days to save the high street as we know it. The impending announcement on how the Government will tackle the energy crisis facing businesses will either ensure businesses can remain trading or set in motion mass closures and redundancies. To say the energy crisis is worse that the pandemic is not an understatement, it is the reality facing businesses today and why the clock is ticking for the new Government to provide clarity and introduce measures providing tangible and immediate relief.”

The campaign is founded by Croydon Business Improvement District and Bart & Taylor with the support of organisations who collectively represent over 150,000 retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses: Association of Town and City Management, British BIDs, British Beer and Pub Association, The BID Foundation, Night Time Industries Association, UKHospitality, and UKinbound.

Bill Addy CEO of Liverpool BID and Chair of The BID Foundation said, “Businesses recognise that they benefited from the immediate support given them during the pandemic but we are in danger of all that support being thrown away as those same businesses that have worked valiantly to recover will be decimated by the cost of living crisis. Business is now at a watershed moment that needs an urgent response from our new Prime Minister, they need hope and certainty if they are to survive. It is business that will ensure that UK can grew the economy out of the coming recession but do that business needs to survive and that requires urgent action.”

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Ojay McDonald, CEO of Association of Town and City Management said, “Right now, businesses are already deciding to scale back or shut up shop for good. The knock-on impact on employment is unimaginably bad. We need decisive action from the government now to save the high street.

Let's not shy away from how comprehensive this support needs to be. Energy prices have been unsustainable for months. We are at the stage where a price freeze is inadequate. Discounts on the cost of energy are vital. We also need to halt the decline of consumer confidence to keep businesses trading. That's why this three-point plan on energy, VAT and businesses rates as a combination is the right route to take.”

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