London mayor Sadiq Khan has written to the housing secretary Robert Jenrick to request an extension to the business rates holiday for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which was due to end in March 2021.
In a joint letter with the Chair of London Councils, Khan requested an extension to the rates holiday, which was brought in to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said such a move would provide a “lifeline” to businesses in London that have been hit particularly hard following the collapse in tourism.
In March chancellor Rishi Sunak announced all retail and hospitality firms were exempt from paying business rates for 12 months in a bid to combat the financial damage caused by the outbreak.
All hospitality and retail businesses regardless of size are eligible for a 100 per cent rates discount.
Khan also asked Jenrick for support via the Local Restrictions Support Grant and Discretionary Grants, which support businesses that have had to close due to temporary Covid-19 local lockdown measures or have suffered a fall in income as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and for these to be tailored to take specific account of rental and rateable values in London.
Elsewhere, Khan asked how he could assist with test and trace and with the deployment of a vaccine when one becomes available.
He said: “For seven months, Londoners have done everything that has been asked of them to reduce the spread of this terrible virus. None of us want to be in the position that we are now in – but unfortunately national restrictions are necessary to protect the NHS and save lives.
“I vow to work closely with ministers to do all we can to help Londoners support one another through this second wave and the very challenging weeks and months ahead.
“That is why I have today written to the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government to set out my broad areas of concern that must urgently be addressed.”
“These include additional support for London’s economy and businesses, vital funding for local authorities and extra support for the vulnerable.
“It is also absolutely crucial that the government get to grips with the catastrophic test and trace system, without which we simply do not have a clear picture of who has the virus.
“We should also look to see how best local councils can direct testing in their area and plan now for the eventual rollout of a vaccine.”