Last reviewed: Tuesday 12 January 2021
Campaigning for business rates relief for UK ELT
We are redoubling our efforts to get business rates relief granted unilaterally to all ELT centres in the light of the January 2021 lockdown, and are currently working with MPs and officials to get our message across. We will update on this as soon as we have news to share.
In the meantime, our petition is still open for signatures: please encourage people to sign it and see if we can get it to the 10,000-name threshold for an official response.
Mixed messages from government
In March 2020 Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that business rates relief would be applied to all businesses in UK's hospitality and leisure industries.
However, many of the 400+ English language teaching centres across the UK are unable to access this relief due to an absurd and arbitrary interpretation of the scheme.
A small but growing list of councils are offering the rates relief package to English UK members.
English UK initially found support from the Local Government Authority in a statement published on their website interpreting the scheme in favour of providing support for English language teaching centres. This advice has since been removed, adding to the confusion and frustration felt by an industry that feels overlooked by central government.
English UK's plea: extend relief unequivocally
Around the country members tell heart-breaking stories of family businesses facing permanent closure as their large business rates bills keep coming. ELT centres have high rates as they need large buildings to accommodate classrooms, and they deserve full government support to ensure their survival.
As an industry, we contribute hugely to the soft power enjoyed by the UK overseas. People want to study English in the home of the language, and they want to spend their money on exploring the region they choose to study in. Our students support jobs, families and local businesses and then they go home and tell the world how great the UK can be. To be able to rebound from this and contribute again to the growth of the UK economy, our members need this relief, and they need it now.
Support from MPs
Covid-19's effect on UK ELT was discussed in Parliament on 2 July 2020, as MPs representing ELT centres warmly praised the industry and asked the Government to extend business rates relief and other support measures. Read more+
Read about our other campaigning and lobbying work