Support our post-bag campaign today
We are continuing to campaign hard on business rates relief for the UK ELT sector, as our chief executive Jodie Gray outlined in her recent address at the English UK AGM.
One of our next actions is to orchestrate a 'post-bag' mailout to UK MPs from all political parties so that the issues we face are top of mind when we contact MPs for the next phase of the campaign.
Please send the email template and instructions below to as many people as you can – colleagues, employees, friends and family, suppliers, host families and anyone else with an interest in supporting our industry. We would like every MP with a language school in his or her constituency (as well as some who don't) to receive at least 20 copies of the same email.
Emails should preferably be sent on Thursday 3 June. It is vital that MPs have the letter in their inbox when they return from the spring parliamentary recess on Monday 7 June.
The email is written to be general enough that anyone can send it. Senders can customise the text if they wish, but this is not at all necessary.
Note that emails must be sent by individuals to their own MP (where they live) rather than the MP where they work.
Post-bag campaign email template
Subject: Please help save the English language teaching industry
Dear [insert MP]
I am writing to you to express my deep concern for the devastating situation that faces English language teaching (ELT) schools due to the combined effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the new immigration system post-Brexit and the ongoing travel restrictions for students arriving in the UK.
In normal times the ELT industry needs little help from government. It is a vital part of our export industry, with students from over 150 countries coming to the UK every year to study English here in the UK. Many will then go on to study at one of our universities, some will start a business venture here.
The UK is home to hundreds of these schools, it's a sector worth £1.4bn to our economy, supporting 35,000 jobs. However, the industry, which operates year-round but is heavily dependent on summer business, will be one of the last in the UK to recover.
In 2020, English language teaching schools lost over 80% of their business. Despite the success of the UK Covid-19 vaccine programme, the emergence of new variants and ongoing travel restrictions mean the industry now faces another bruising year. Yet English language teaching schools were not included in the government's list of sectors eligible for business rates relief: for some schools this means a cost of up to £300,000 over two years, with little or no income to cover this.
The industry is ready to play an active part in the development of global Britain and the reopening of the economy in urban, rural and coastal locations but is totally reliant on its international market. Without support, many of these viable, valuable businesses - often of many years' standing in their local communities - will close for good. This will affect everyone who works with them and depends on them - school employees, host families, transport companies, local hospitality and visitor attractions. Once schools in the UK have closed permanently, students will move to other English-speaking countries that have been better able to support this sector throughout the pandemic.
A small investment now will prevent this market failure and provide for future recovery. Full business rates relief for all UK English language teaching schools for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 will cost the government no more than £17 million and will provide parity with other tourism, leisure and hospitality businesses that have already benefitted from this relief. Some schools have received discretionary grants from their local authorities but these are far smaller than rates relief and are reliant on their authority's discretion.
We therefore urge you to do all you can to ensure the ELT industry is supported so that it can both survive and thrive.
[insert your name and address to show that you live in the MPs constituency]
Post-bag mailout instructions
Send these instuctions to your colleagues, employees, friends and family, suppliers and host families (with your own personal greeting/introduction), remembering to copy/attach the email template.
Thank you for helping the English language teaching industry at this difficult time. Can we ask you just to take a few minutes to send the email below to your MP? We need as many people as possible to do this so that our voice is heard and we get the support that we deserve. The way to do this is very simple:
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Find details of your Westminster MP by inputting your postcode here: https://members.parliament.uk/members/commons
Email your MP using their email address. If your MP has both a constituency and Westminster email, please use both email addresses.
Cut and paste the email template into the body of the email and add in your greeting – e.g. 'Dear Mr Adams'. You can change the email if you want to provide some more personal information but this is not essential.
Sign off with 'Yours sincerely', your name and your address to show that you live in the MPs constituency.
For the subject heading, put 'Please help save the English language teaching industry'.
Click send – preferably at any time on Thursday 3 June.