TIME is running out for shops, hospitality and leisure businesses while they wait for more clarity about help from the government, it is claimed.

Bournemouth Coastal Business Improvement District (BID) is backing the national #RaiseTheBar campaign, which wants more concessions from chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Campaigners say businesses have been left “unsure” about how the government intends to support them during the extended closure.

They want the government to make its Retail Hospitality and Leisure Grant available to businesses with a rateable value of up to £150,000, rather than the current £51,000.

The grant is worth £25,000 to qualifying businesses.

The group says extending the scheme would honour the chancellor’s pledge on March 17 provide “tools” for every citizen to “get through this”.

Paul Clarke, chairman of the Coastal BID, said: “The Raise the Bar campaign is crucial if the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are to get through this.

“In our area – from Tuckton to Westbourne – the summer months are when businesses make most of their money.

“Without clarity and extra assistance from the government we could see many of them going under.

“The Raise the Bar campaign has significant cross-party support, is backed by industry leaders, 95 Business Improvement Districts and the Change.org petition has more than 12,000 signatures so far.”

The campaign says the cost of amending the grant scheme – assuming all 54,638 businesses applied for it – is calculated at £1.365billion.

Mr Clarke added: “The cost of £1.365bn is small in the great scheme of things and it could save many companies from going out of business.

“This would lead to many job losses and would have a big impact on the local economy.”

The Coastal BID represents levy-paying businesses in Tuckton, Pokesdown, Southbourne, Boscombe, East Cliff, West Cliff, Bournemouth seafront and Westbourne.