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23/03: South Bank BID Statement on Covid-19

post-image 23rd March 2020

South Bank Business Improvement District (BID) is committed to ensuring that its levy payers are kept informed on the BID’s position on all aspects of Covid-19 and its impact. Last week, we published a statement on the work we had started to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on South Bank, and to plan for how London can collectively recover from this outbreak.

Given the fast-changing nature of the impact the virus is having on our area and our businesses, we are providing a further update today, covering the work we’re doing in terms of ongoing place management, and in continuing to plan for recovery.

Keeping South Bank Safe and Secure

With so much of South Bank shut down, we wanted to reassure you that for now our core services remain in place. This includes South Bank Clean Team, our security work through South Bank Patrol and our dedicated Metropolitan Police Officers.

However, as the Covid-19 situation continues to change on a daily basis and as we are operating with significant uncertainty, all aspects of our approach need to be continually reviewed in line with government policy.

One area of South Bank experiencing unprecedented demand is St Thomas’ Hospital. South Bank BID is discussing the current situation at the hospital with the management team on a regular basis and finding ways to help staff through this crisis in any way we can.

Making Sure Our Businesses’ Concerns are Heard

South Bank BID is committed to ensuring that the needs of our businesses are heard by policy makers. Last week, we briefed Florence Eshalomi MP who spoke in the House of Commons debate on Monday evening ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement. Florence outlined to the House of Commons the immediate impact of Covid-19 on South Bank’s world-class hotels, cultural institutions and hospitality businesses and called for further measures to support our businesses, many of whom were not affected by the £51,000 rateable value business rate exemption announced in the Budget. This was then followed this with a further address to the Mayor of London, and London Assembly, who are a crucial part of the response and recovery programme.

Along with all of the BIDs in Lambeth, South Bank BID signed a letter from Jack Hopkins, the Leader of Lambeth Council to Rishi Sunak, requesting that more is urgently done to support our businesses to address the financial impact and insurance implications of the Prime Minister’s recommendation that venues should close to support social distancing. We welcome the subsequent Business Rates payment holiday for the hospitality industry, but also recognise more still needs to be done to support the needs of our levy payers.  Today we are talking with Southwark Council and the BIDs that operate in the borough.

We will continue to ensure that politicians hear the challenges our businesses face in terms of financing, cash flow and staffing and will raise your business concerns with Westminster, City Hall and with our two local Councils.

Planning Our Recovery

Last week, Board members from South Bank BID and South Bank Employers’ Group spoke to the Chief Executive of London & Partners, as part of planning an effective recovery once the situation with the virus improves, both for business and tourist visitors and via international and domestic markets. As a strategic partner of London & Partners and a leading voice in their domestic marketing programme, South Bank BID is in a strong position to make sure our neighbourhood can capitalise on this recovery as soon as it begins.

Keep in Touch

We will keep you informed on a regular basis as further developments happen, so please keep an eye on our website, e-newsletters and Twitter feed.

South Bank BID is also reviewing all our proposed costs for the year ahead too, and we will update levy payers of any savings we are able to make to our expenditure and the implications for our levy paying businesses, recognising the challenges we are all currently facing.

We are also looking at introducing video conferencing solutions for levy payers, if you have any specific questions about our ongoing work, to ensure we can stay in contact while the South Bank working through these unprecedented times.

If you have any questions about the work we are doing, please contact us via bid@southbanklondon.com.

For general information and current advise on Coronavirus, we would advise South Bank businesses to follow the Government’s published guidance, which is updated regularly: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance

Yours,

Nic Durston

Chief Executive, South Bank BID

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