Daniel Morris, co-founder of The Morris Fyfe Agency in Brick Lane, east London, has launched an online petition calling for business rates grants and holidays for retail companies to be extended to include wholesale agents and distributors. London-based Double H Agency, Love Brands, Jonny Drama, Just A Group, FOF Fashion Marketing and Brand Machine Group, as well as Manchester-based agency Red Alert, are among the signatories so far but Daniel plans to extend the campaign to cover all affected sectors.
Currently sales agents and distributors, who are typically self-employed or directors drawing dividends, do not qualify for the sort of help from central government or local government that is available to the many retailers they supply.
The petition, https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/320692 states: “The business rates relief for retail companies should be extended to include wholesale agents and distributors whose businesses have been equally affected by the shutdown. Our business, like many others, is 100% reliant on retail. Since the outbreak, our customers have been mostly furloughed and no one is visiting wholesale showrooms. Our office is obviously closed and all of our customers have closed their doors.”
Daniel adds: “In short, we fully support the government business rates 12 month holiday for retailers and only ask to be treated the same, as we are part of the same supply chain and therefore paying the price in terms of reduced income from retailer cancellations, discounts and delays. We believe that the government doesn’t really understand and recognise the role we play in getting goods to market and how we are recompensed – at least that is the only justification we can think of, for not being included in the COVID19 government support. My petition is saying that we are directly related to retail and should be considered in the same bracket. With buyers furloughed, offices shut and those people working doing so from home, those of us with retail showrooms are experiencing a similar impact to retailers. In fact, you could claim it’s worse, as we don’t sell through websites. We can’t just walk away from our showrooms, so they are staying full of samples with no visitors. We’re not eligible for the 12-month rates holiday, or the £25,000 grant for ratepayers in the retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors, because we’re not classed as retail, and I can’t get the small business grant funding of £10,000 because my rateable value is above £15,000. The only logical next step has been to launch the government petition.”
We would be incredibly grateful if you could help raise awareness and reach the target number of 10,000 signatures.