On behalf of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Central London Alliance, LCCI's CEO Richard Burge has written to the Mayor of London and the Minister for London, outlining what London business needs once the capital is out of lockdown.
As detailed in the Central London Alliance manifesto, businesses that cannot operate profitably or reopen due to restrictions will need substantial sector-specific support, including but not limited to:
• maintaining the business rates holiday for a further 12 months.
• extending the deferral of all tax liabilities due in July 2020.
• removing the obligation to pay interest on late payment on such liabilities.
• extension of the VAT cut to beyond March 2021 for hospitality businesses.
• extending the threshold for hospitality grants beyond £51,000.
• and continuing tax-free shopping.
Businesses also need clear, precise and consistent messaging on what restrictions and advice mean in practice, especially on whether London can be visited safely and sustainably. Positive, unambiguous information on what people can do, not just what they cannot do, clear and transparent evidence underpinning decisions, and detailed specific guidance for every affected sector is critical for inspiring confidence in London.
Similarly, to incentivise commuters to travel back into central London, flexible ticketing is necessary to support workers as they adapt to changing working patterns as our polling has shown.
Delivering an effective test, track and trace system will also be vital to ensuring that we are able to balance tackling the virus with giving businesses, their employees and their customers the confidence they need to start building back our economy.
Finally, adequate funding in all areas is needed to get the London economy back on its feet. Administering cuts in certain areas for the benefit of others would simply not work.
Closing the letter, LCCI and the CLA call on the Mayor of London and Minister for London to work together in making the case for the easing of restrictions in line with evidence, providing substantial business support, securing adequate funding for London and incentivising commuters to London through clear messaging, flexible rail tickets and an effective, test, track and trace system.
This is not about London being special or more important than other parts of the UK, but it is about London being essential to our national recovery.