CALLS are being made for the government to give more York businesses access to a vital coronavirus support grant.

The York BID is backing the national RaiseTheBar campaign which wants to see the £51,000 business rates threshold cap raised to £150,000 for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

This would allow more operators access to the £25,000 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant.

Many of York's shops, pubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels and leisure businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, and face an uncertain future post lockdown, with social distancing measures still likely.

Andrew Lowson, executive director of York BID (York Business Improvement District), said businesses above the £51,000 threshold felt 'excluded' from the support on offer.

"York is heavily reliant on its food and hospitality sector and with concerns over post-lockdown visitor numbers being severely reduced, support for these businesses is deemed essential.”

Campaign organisers estimate that 54,6381 businesses across England and Wales are unable to access the grant. People can support the RaiseTheBar petition to save the high street at It needs 10,000 signatures to be recognised by Government.

Sophie Jewett, whose York Cocoa House & York Cocoa Works on Castlegate is just above the current threshold, said: “We have had to diversify quickly and creatively to adjust to the new trading environment in a way that’s sustainable.

"Like many other businesses, we still have ongoing costs that require payment.The pressures on business are extreme which is why raising the threshold would bring greater collective support for businesses that form an integral part of their communities.

"I am hopeful that we will figure it out, we are very determined, but I am fearful that many other businesses are in danger of burning out, leaving a huge void in our high streets and communities.”