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BP and the UK's leading companies and the Mayor of London come together to help small businesses recover from riots

Release date:
24 August 2011
High Street Fund launched to aid businesses across the country affected by the disturbances


BP along with a group of the UK's leading companies, the Mayor of London and local authorities have joined forces to help businesses across the country recover from the damage caused by this month's riots.


BP has contributed an initial £500,000 into the fund.


The coalition of businesses, supported by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced the creation of the 'High Street Fund', a charitable fund designed to offer immediate cash support to smaller businesses that have suffered from the disturbances across England.


The fund will comprise a total initial commitment of over £3 million cash funding plus support services from businesses including Barclays, BP, Capita, Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Santander, as well as £500,000 commitment from the Mayor of London. It is hoped that more leading companies, as well as individuals, will donate to the fund to ensure that as many small businesses as possible can be helped.


Sir William Castell, BP's senior independent director and chairman of the High Street Fund and chairman the Wellcome Trust, said:


"This fund is about providing real help to businesses who need help now."


"Everyone was shocked at the damage caused by the riots, and for numerous small businesses the hardship is still being felt. The High Street Fund will be the channel for the British business community to rally round and aid smaller businesses caught up in the disturbances."


"As a businessman, I know that at times of crisis there is a fine line between survival and failure. The High Street Fund will provide immediate financial assistance to help our shopkeepers and traders. By coming together we aim to help affected businesses to get back on their feet"


The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is backing the fund, offering the help and expertise of his City Hall team to set it up and pledging £500,000 to kickstart the donations.


BP group chief executive Bob Dudley said:


"BP is pleased to support the High Street Fund. This is an important venture in restoring the high streets that are at the heart of local communities. The riots were a dreadful series of events touching the lives of many in areas in which we operate through our retail forecourt sites or offices. They impacted many small businesses in the high street who, without support from funds such as this, would not be able to re-open and build for the future. We look forward to seeing these communities growing and flourishing in the future."


"I have seen at first hand businesses showing remarkable resilience and true fighting spirit. However, it is no secret that many high streets in the capital are still suffering as a result of the appalling events earlier this month. Small businesses need urgent help to repair damage and get goods back on the shelves and the High Street Fund will help to do just that. I have absolutely no doubt that if we pull together and give our support to the fund we can ensure that London emerges as a stronger and even more prosperous city than before."


The High Street Fund will provide emergency financial assistance to small businesses that suffered disruption, damage or destruction in the urban riots of August 2011. To qualify for funding, a business owner will need to explain what has happened to his or her business, how it happened, and how assistance from the High Street Fund will help get them back on their feet. The Fund will offer nationwide support to businesses affected across the country by this month's disturbances.


The Fund aims to make it easy to apply for funding and to make payments swiftly. Claims will be made using a form that can be downloaded from the High Street Fund's website - www.thehighstreetfund.co.uk. Claims will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and can be submitted from Friday 26 August.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:


Capita will be running a freephone helpline, 0800 093 5858, open from 10:30 today and then from 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday, to assist businesses applying for grants from the fund. The Fund will open fully on Friday 26 August.


Commenting on the potential benefits of the fund, Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, said:


"I welcome the offer of support from business. Restoring and revitalising our retail centres is vital step in building lasting calm and a spirit of normality. I look forward to seeing the High Street Fund play an important role in Birmingham, alongside the other funds and initiatives we already have in place and will be bringing forward in the near future."


Other Comments


High Street Fund trustee and Barclays vice-chairman Naguib Kheraj said:


"The recent riots have had a devastating impact on many businesses and people and we want to play our part in rebuilding the local communities affected. We are doing that directly with our clients and customers by providing emergency overdraft facilities and offering payment breaks for business or mortgage customers. We believe that The High Street Fund will offer complementary, broader direct support to local businesses who are at the heart of these communities to get back onto their feet as quickly as possible. We urge other businesses to follow our lead and help restore our local communities."


Capita Group CEO Paul Pindar said:


"Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities and many have been hit particularly hard by the unprecedented events of recent weeks. Companies like Capita can play a key role not only in providing funding but in using their existing expertise to ensure that local entrepreneurs get the help they need to restart their businesses and reinvigorate local economies."


David Cruickshank, chairman of Deloitte, said:


"Deloitte and its people strongly believe in the need to take a lead in assisting the businesses and communities affected by the riots. From freeing up our employees to assist in the clean-up operation in Manchester to providing a team to work pro bono on establishing and managing the High Street Fund, we aim to play our part in helping get small businesses across the UK back up and running. We hope that other businesses will lend their support to this important initiative."


Sir Winfried Bischoff, Lloyds Banking Group chairman, said:


"We are pleased to be able to support this initiative and the people that were impacted by the events that took place. We hope that the initiative provides valuable support for many of the small businesses and high streets affected, helping them to return to doing what they do best."


Steve Pateman, executive director of Santander Corporate, Commercial and Business Banking, said:


"We are pleased to be supporting this initiative through our branch network and we stand ready to help these small businesses get back on their feet by offering advice and guidance from our team of Business Managers – this is over and above the additional support we have already offered our customers."

Notes to editors

Funds are aimed at helping businesses to carry out repairs, replace stock, and return to trading. These are guidelines only, with the specific nature of all claim assessed by The High Street Fund, which has the discretion to make grants on a case-by-case basis. The fund is not designed to provide additional money to traders already in receipt of insurance payments or other emergency funds.


The £500,000 provided to the Fund by the Mayor of London will be ring-fenced for businesses in London.


The London Boroughs of Barnet, Bexley, Croydon, Merton, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets have contributed £30,000 each to the High Street Fund and Richmond, Haringey, Enfield and City of London have contributed £50,000 each.


The Mayor has already announced a £50m regeneration to make long-term improvements to town centres in the capital affected by the riots. This is in addition to £20m High Street Recovery Scheme created by the UK Government to aid the regeneration of Croydon and Tottenham, two areas most affected by the disturbances.


The full list of companies and institutions already contributing to the High Street Fund are: Barclays; BP; Capita; Deloitte, Lloyds Banking Group; RBS; Santander; the Mayor of London; the London boroughs; and the Kirsch Foundation.