Budget day: BBC interviews English language school owner Valeria Hennessy in Bristol
IH Bristol owner Val Hennessy spoke to the BBC yesterday about what she and other English language centres need from today's Budget. Her interview was included on the Today programme and on the BBC News Channel. previous entry << >> next entry
You can listen to the Today Programme on BBC iPlayer (27 October) (from 16'50)
The video of the interview, filmed in Bristol market, was also included in the BBC News Channel feature on Bristol businesses - we're seeking permission to share the clip.
Val outlined the catastrophic effect of the pandemic on our industry, with the downturn in students starting even before the first lockdown on March 2020 and an 84% drop in income between then and now. Staying afloat since then has been a struggle. In common with other schools, she has built-up eye-watering levels of debt and owes money to HMRC, her landlord and above all to Bristol City Council for business rates. In common with most other councils in the UK, Bristol Council did not feel that the sector was in scope for rates relief under the march 2020 expanded retail discount scheme
Val would therefore like to see a clear statement from the government that the English language sector be granted rates relief for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022.
English UK is continuing to push on this issue, with activity around the Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors' Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill which will see £1.5 billion released to councils in England, plus equivalent amounts for the devolved nations, for them to use for rates relief. Our ask is that guidance is explicit about the need to include our sector, and that the money be used to pay for relief from 2020 onwards.
We will continue to push hard on this.