Business levy continues to protect future of the High Street

Lincoln’s Business Improvement Group won’t be dropping its levy on local businesses – however, bosses say the income will go towards protecting the future of Lincoln High Street.

Because most businesses will face rate reliefs under the government’s latest coronavirus schemes, the advice so far has been to send out Business Improvement District levies as normal.

Chief Executive of Lincoln BIG Sarah Loftus said that without the income the organisation would not exist. The group has, however, been lobbying government for more action to cover the costs.

Several initiatives have been cancelled including car parking and bus pass schemes.

Sarah, however, said the BIG was looking to the future – including carrying on with some of its plans for this year, and coming up with new ideas.

A Imp sculpture with Sarah Loftus, Lincoln BIG Chief Executive. Photo: Mick Fox

“We’re trying to get ready for when we can come back to the High Street,” she said.

“We recognise that as soon as it re-opens people will want us to encourage shoppers to come back.”

She hoped to see independent shops in particular returning.

She acknowledged, however, that the impact of coronavirus, including its focus on the benefits of digital technology and home working, could change the face of the high street.

“We hope that people will come back, but I think they will use it in a very different way.

“We need to start thinking now about what that looks like so we can get the right things in place so that Lincoln High Street can adapt.”

Events still planned to go ahead include the Lincoln Imps trail planed for July and the 1940s Steampunk festival.

Sarah added the business improvement group would hold off until the last-minute before cancelling any planned events – usually a month in advance.

The BIG is also working with local authorities to get the latest information and guidance out to its members, as well as local business stories, through its newsletter.

Sarah called on people to get in touch with any ideas they might have going forward.


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