SOUTHAMPTON’S business improvement district is backing a campaign aimed at saving tens of thousands of hospitality businesses from going under.

Go! Southampton has pledged its support to #RaiseTheBar, a campaign to extend coronavirus grants to another 54,368 businesses nationally.

Businesses whose premises have a rateable value of more than £51,000 are not eligible for a coronavirus grant of £25,000 from the government. Campaigners say the threshold should be raised to £150,000, extending the scheme to another 54,638 businesses.

Another 157 businesses paying a levy to Go! Southampton would be eligible for the help if the threshold was raised, the body says.

Giles Semper, executive director of Go! Southampton, said: “The current cut-off point for grant funding is arbitrary and based on an outdated approach to assessing business size. It has left many businesses desperate for a cash injection and facing possible collapse.

“#RaiseTheBar would increase upper threshold for the grant scheme and assist no fewer than 157 of our member businesses in the city centre – some 25 per cent of our total membership.

“There is a fine line between a city centre that survives and one that stops being viable, taking many hundreds of jobs with it. While we think the government responded quickly and effectively to business needs, it now needs to adjust its funding schemes to prevent widescale business failure. Accessing loans can be a challenging and often futile process, meaning that a small amount of grant support can go a very long way.”

The #RaiseTheBar petition has received more than 14,000 signatures.

Go! Southampton has co-signed a letter to business secretary Alok Sharma.

The campaign, started by Croydon Business Improvement District (BID), has won the backing of a host of industry bodies and MPs and will be raised in the House of Commons by shadow business secretary Ed Miliband.

Matthew Sims, chief executive of Croydon BID, added: “#RaiseTheBar has calculated that a total of £1.365billion is needed to support all 54,638 businesses in need.”

He said the aid was needed as businesses faced the due date for quarterly rent on June 24.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of Go! Southampton and look forward to working alongside them as we continue to spearhead this essential campaign,” he added.