Coronavirus: Barking shopkeeper calls for premises rent to be deferred to help stay afloat
PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 March 2020
A shopkeeper is calling for the rent at his premises to be deferred to help his business survive plummeting sales triggered by the coronavirus.
Shazzadur Rahman opened Party Beee in Faircross Parade, Barking, in January 2019, after ploughing £30,000 into the business.
But just over a year later the 43-year-old was forced to close as part of the government’s measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Takings from Mother’s Day totalled £100 this year, where Shazzadur had expected to take up to £600.
With the till no longer ringing, Shazzadur – like many businessmen and women – is keen to keep hold of as much money as he can to keep his store afloat.
However, the father of three from Upney said he is expecting a bill of up to £11,000 for renting the premises from the local authority soon.
Shazzadur said: “I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet and pay the bills. If it’s not deferred or waived I would have to borrow money to pay.”
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A Barking and Dagenham Council spokesman said: “In the first place we will advise businesses to look at the help and support the government is offering.”
The government has pledged to provide additional funding to local authorities to support small businesses that pay little or no business rates.
It will provide a one off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meeting ongoing costs.
To be eligible, the business has to occupy a property, be based in England and already receive small business rate relief.
But for now Party Beee’s door remains closed and Shazzadur is planning to move more of his business online.
“But without money coming in, I don’t know how to do this. I’m a new set up,” he said.
And the former garage owner misses meeting customers face to face. “Previously, customers came in with broken cars and you would listen to the story that went with it. But [at Party Beee] customers came in talking about how to celebrate.
“It felt really good that you were taking part in people’s happiness,” Shazzadur said.
Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce is offering support to businesses. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8591 6966.
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