English UK urges the Chancellor to fix anomaly to save world-leading ELT industry
24 February 2021


English UK urges the Chancellor to fix anomaly to save world-leading ELT industry

We have made a Budget representation to HM Treasury on behalf of UK ELT. Our submission asks for:

  • Inclusion in the existing Business Rates Relief (BRR) guidance for the 2020/2021 financial year. The MHCLG's eligibility criteria means most language schools have been excluded from the government's BRR scheme, and most other grants as well.
  • Inclusion in other current and future support targeted at the tourism, leisure and hospitality industries. ELT schools should be included in an expanded BRR scheme for the 2021/2022 financial year and to be eligible for all grants aimed at these industries.
  • An extension of the furlough scheme until autumn 2021.

Read our press release:

The government must urgently amend its support package for leisure and hospitality businesses to include the UK's globally-renowned English language teaching sector, says English UK.

Although the UK attracts students from all over the world to learn and experience our culture, only a small minority of ELT centres have been granted the business rates relief and associated grants promised by chancellor Rishi Sunak to all leisure and hospitality businesses at the start of the first lockdown in March 2020.

Jodie Gray, chief executive of industry body English UK said: "Before the pandemic, ELT centres were viable, thriving businesses providing tens of thousands of jobs at all levels, supporting the UK's tourism and international education sectors, and creating goodwill for our nation around the world. The UK attracted more English students than any of our global competitors.

"Once international travel resumes and quarantine ends, ELT centres will be busy, viable businesses once more. They are just desperate to get business rates relief and associated support the Chancellor promised to all leisure and hospitality businesses, so that they can survive this period. Nobody can understand why ELT is excluded: we suspect there is some confusion about what our members actually do."

She added: "unlike other tourism businesses, we can't replace our customers with homegrown ones. During the last year our students have been unable to travel, and business fell by over 80 per cent, losing well over half a billion pounds so far. Online teaching is fiercely competitive worldwide, isn't a commercial option for most of our centres – and our students value the experience they get in the UK and want to come here to learn in person."

In its Budget submission, English UK has asked for:

  • Inclusion in the existing Business Rates Relief (BRR) guidance for the 2020/2021 financial year. The MHCLG's eligibility criteria means most language schools have been excluded from the government's BRR scheme, and most other grants as well.
  • Inclusion in other current and future support targeted at the tourism, leisure and hospitality industries. ELT schools should be included in an expanded BRR scheme for the 2021/2022 financial year and to be eligible for all grants aimed at these industries.
  • An extension of the furlough scheme until autumn 2021.

UK ELT attracts more international students to learn English than our global competitors, including the USA, Canada, Australia and Ireland. It is a seasonal business, with most students coming in the summer for short holiday courses.

Language centres lost most of their business in 2020 and unless international travel reopens before the summer, without quarantining, most of 2021's business may be lost as well. Around 50 accredited ELT centres so far - 13 per cent of English UK's membership - have closed permanently.

 

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