SOUTHAMPTON-born chancellor Rishi Sunak is being urged to “save” the city where he grew up.

The public plea comes from the city’s business improvement district, Go! Southampton, which says 82 per cent of its 600 member businesses are temporarily closed because of the lockdown.

Mr Sunak – who was thrust into the national spotlight when he became chancellor a year ago today – is being urged to extend breaks such as furlough, low VAT and zero business rates.

The chancellor was born in Southampton General Hospital and grew up in Portswood and Bassett before boarding at Winchester College.

Go! Southampton members are urging Rishi Sunak to save Southampton

Go! Southampton members are urging Rishi Sunak to "save" Southampton

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The chairman of Go! Southampton, Tim Keeping, has written a public letter to Mr Sunak, as part of the body’s SOS: Save Our Southampton campaign.

Go! Southampton is one of the principal backers of the Daily Echo’s Love Local Business campaign to support Hampshire’s traders.

Love Local Business - Now is the time to get behind your local businesses

Mr Keeping said: “Our members are facing a real struggle, but none more so than the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors – particularly those with rateable values over £51,000.

“Many had already seen massive increases in their business rates following the 2017 revaluation, including an average 31 per cent for night-time economy operators. We particularly want to see business rates relief extended for a further financial year – or even better see the old, outdated business rates system torn up completely.”

Giles Semper, executive director at Go! Southampton, said: “Government support has helped hugely during this incredibly difficult time. So we are appealing to the chancellor – whom the city can claim as ‘one of its own’ – to let us know what more he can do.

“The measures we have suggested come straight from our members and will give them the best possible chance of surviving and eventually flourishing again. I can’t wait for the day when we invite the chancellor down to see how his home city as bounced back.”

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A Treasury spokesperson said in a statement: "We’ve invested more than £280billion throughout the pandemic to protect millions of jobs and businesses – and extended our self-employed and furlough schemes through to April so that people have certainty that help is in place.

“At the upcoming Budget we’ll outline the next stages of our plan for Jobs to support businesses and families across the UK. That has been our priority throughout the past year and it will be the priority for the year to come.”

The Budget is due to be unveiled on March 3.