Jobs and livelihoods on a knife-edge says business chief

Purley BID’s CEO has spoken out about the impact that the latest covid-19 restrictions are having  on his members’ businesses

The move into “High” covid-19 restrictions “has been devastating” for local businesses, according to the official who manages the Purley Business Improvement District.

Devastating: Businesses in Purley have been hit hard by the new lockdown rules

The increased restrictions, imposed on Croydon and the rest of London last weekend, has had such a detrimental effect on the retail and hospitality industry that “many jobs and livelihoods are now on a knife-edge”, said Simon Cripps, the CEO of Purley BID.

“The impact of moving into Tier 2 which will no doubt be reflected through Croydon borough and all Tier 2 areas,” Cripps told Inside Croydon.

Echoing the appeals for more help from government that have been made this week by city mayors in Manchester and Liverpool, Cripps says that members of Purley BID are desperate for support.

“The move to Tier 2 has been devastating, as the effect of stopping customers but not providing the support needed is evident. Transitioning between Tier 1 and Tier 2 appears to make a further 40 per cent drop in profits and now making an overall drop year on year of about 80 per cent.

Purley BID’s Simon Cripps: the new restrictions are a ‘triple threat’

“This makes running a viable business in Tier 2 close to impossible as there is no support for businesses.”

Cripps describes “a triple threat” to the hospitality and retail industries, “where firstly people are now scared to go out with the increased risk level. Secondly, people are reluctant to go out to hospitality venues as they are unable to experience socialising with friends and family outside their household.

“Thirdly, there is still a lack of confidence in the security of the data from the track and trace app which is causing many people to confront and challenge business owners doing their best to keep the community safe.”

Allesandro Jahier, from 4Locos Argentine Steakhouse in Purley, said, “We need help from the government, and we need it now. We really appreciate what has been done so far, but at this stage, we need extra effort from the top to keep our businesses alive and support all our employees.”

Allesandro Jahier, from 4Locos: ‘We need help’

Retailing has also been badly affected. Lisa Downham is another Purley BID member, who runs the Get Fired pottery painting shop. “Tier 2 is having such a detrimental effect on my business,” she said.

“We were already down 60 per cent on last year’s figures but are now down a further 40 per cent from last week. People want to support us but just can’t under these restrictions. We have had to turn down so many bookings at a time when every one is vital. We need help to cope financially with the Tier 2 restrictions.”

Many of the grants or financial schemes offered to businesses at the start of the first lockdown have now expired, been spent on rent or, with furlough, is about to be withdrawn. Cripps said: “Our businesses need action now, whether this is additional support such as grants, rent relief or furlough, or to move into the circuit break sooner rather than later.”


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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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1 Response to Jobs and livelihoods on a knife-edge says business chief

  1. Lewis White says:

    It’s very sad that all local businesses who rely on walk-in trade, whether pubs, restaurant, cafe, ceramic decoration, hair styling and a host of others, are suffering, and will go on suffering -or close–as a result of Covid. Let’s hope that a vaccine can be developed quickly.

    Under–I believe I am right– the Conservative administration some years back, Purley benefitted from streetscape improvements in the area of the station forecourt, the High Street, and the section of shops as far North as the flats on the corner where the Astoria cinema once stood.

    These street areas previously looked down at heel, which must have affected trade at the adjoining shops and eateries. Now these streets look good, with renewed pavements in a warm red-brown brick, new bespoke street furniture and added trees in places.

    Many businesses complained at the time about disruption, understandable, but I am sure that most will have benefitted with more custom attrcated by a “feel good” factor caused by the renewal.

    I have been very disappointed, since then, that the improvements have not been carried forward to address the greasy, sad-looking street that is the Brighton Road. With its boring asphalt pavements, greyness, and inadequate bins, its grim aspects pull down down the businesses along it. How ever attractive a shop front is, and the premises inside, if the surrounding area looks crummy, it must affect the attractiveness of the businesses. People might not consciously realise it, but they tend to vote with their feet, and go to nice-looking places. OK, parking ease and cost affects this. Locally, Banstead attracts on both counts.

    Presumably, Croydon Council has been busy improving other high street areas of the borough, like London Road West Croydon, which is only fair, as all areas need to benefit from a decent street environment.

    Money also must come into it, in the period of Osbourne Austerity, now Covid, so let’s hope that this key Brighton Road area of Purley town centre will get some significant funding for streetscape overhaul when the long-awaited Purley Cross Baptist Church area redevelopment comes on stream. I really hope and trust, that it benefits from a significant amount of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) generated by the new development, whereby the development pays a sum which the council allocates to the local area.

    I do hope that Croydon senior Councillors and Planners together ensure that Purley’s environment gets all the help it can get to get a better public realm, right here where it will give a lasting, visible boost to Purley’s businesses and the community who supports them by spending money there.

    Paving in busy streets can last and look good for up to 50 years in the case of real stone, 30 for brick, or 20 for concrete paving, which gives good value for money over many years. Incidentally, such improvements use a majority of paving, street furniture and materials made or sourced in the UK, and trees grown in the UK, so money invested in this area will help employment in all parts of the country, which must be good.

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