Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to call on you to take urgent action to support small and medium sized businesses and better protect them from the impacts of the cost of living scandal. Retail, pubs and the night time economy are especially badly affected in my constituency, as these things are most likely to be among the first things consumers cut down on in their efforts to ensure they can pay their own bills. Therefore, I call on you to deliver a dedicated business support package that includes the following measures to help businesses survive and thrive:
- Extend business rates relief for all SMEs and pubs
- Suspend covid loan debt repayments
- Reduce vat on energy for business from 20% to 5%
- Reduce tourism VAT to 5%
- Dedicated grant programme for SMEs and pubs to help with costs over the winter
- For energy prices to be taken back to 2021 levels for SMEs and pubs.
You will know that spiralling energy prices and knock on costs have the potential to be devastating for our local and national economy. Small and medium sized businesses are still recovering from the covid-19 pandemic and the threat they now face demands an equally proportionate response from the Government. If our communities lose more local businesses, there will be significant consequences for economic resilience, jobs and social inclusion – at a time when we need desperately strong local economies to help make the transition to a net zero economy.
I am also worried about the non-profit sector, including care homes, schools and hospitals, all of whom are already struggling and will be placed under yet further financial pressure in the weeks and months ahead. Please can you confirm that your Government will be intervening to ensure there are funds and other policies in place to protect them and the critical services they provide in our communities.
Finally, tackling demand needs to be a core part of the Government’s strategy to help bring business energy costs down, as well as for household bills. That means a proper programme of support to improve the energy efficiency of business premises needs to be one of your immediate priorities – from an economic perspective and to help deliver on the UK’s net zero commitments.
I look forward to your response.
Yours sincerely, Caroline