As we approach a second national lockdown, I want to take a moment to acknowledge and thank you, our businesses and partners, for the work and resilience that has been shown throughout this cruel pandemic. It is the strength of our businesses as a collective that cements the West End as a top global destination and will ensure that once we are through the worst, we will thrive and come back stronger than before.
As for New West End Company, we are doing everything in our power to protect and safeguard our businesses and colleagues. While it is a relief that the Government is to match restrictions with support for business, we are urging them to reflect those provided in March. Despite this continued uncertainty and stop start measures that are undermining confidence and worsening this already catastrophic situation, we are determined that there is light at the end of the tunnel and we will be working with you, our members, and on your behalf, to ensure that once lockdown is eased, we are in the best possible position to welcome back our colleagues and customers this Christmas.
This week, amid these uncertain times, we brought some light and joy to the district with the turning on of our Christmas lights on Oxford Street and Bond Street. We illuminated the Capital, and celebrated our first hero, Anis Ali an NHS Volunteer Responder, nominated by the Royal Voluntary Service, which was set up at the start of the pandemic to complement the work done by NHS and social care staff in supporting those most at risk. It was truly humbling to hear of the hard work and incredible acts of kindness that Mr Ali has shown throughout the pandemic, and we are honoured to celebrate his work, and the work of all our future heroes in the lights over the next seven weeks.
Watch our short video below to celebrate the Christmas lights and the resilience of the West End.
The switching on of the lights was recognised nationally in press ranging from Broadcast, national and regional coverage, including Sky News, BBC London & ITV which you can watch below, and a range of further coverage including BBC Radio London and the Daily Mail.
Beyond Christmas, we are continuing our efforts in urging Government to offer reassurance that in the long-term, London remains a competitive location for international brands and retailers. A continuation of the business rates relief beyond April 2021 and the reversal of the tax-free shopping decision remain our utmost priority in ensuring that the West End can emerge from lockdown with the best possible trading environment. The West End is resilient, but the Government’s earlier decision to abolish tax-free shopping has already put 25,000 British jobs at risk. London is already threatened by the reduced spend this year and cannot continue to prosper without further, long-term support.
Looking once again to the present, we want to make you aware of changes to our services over the lockdown period. We will once again be increasing our security provisions and continuing our overnight dog patrols to ensure that empty units and stock are secure. We are also lobbying the Metropolitan Police Service to deploy further night-time patrols to prevent commercial burglaries. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on ensuring the West End remains safe & secure. Our insights programme and daily footfall updates will also once again be paused during the lockdown period.
With this in mind, I want to reassure you that the non-furloughed team here, supported by our Board at New West End Company, are available to help you and your businesses navigate these challenging times and we look forward to welcoming you, our colleagues, partners and our customers back to a festive West End this Christmas.
We will get through this, better together, for good.
Yours in Partnership,