Pay It Forward and support local businesses

The Mayor of London’s  launch of Pay It Forward, a new initiative to support  local, independent businesses through the challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown has been widely welcomed. Rajesh Agrawal, London’s Deputy Mayor for Business elaborates on how the scheme works.
Rajesh Agrawal Deputy London Mayor.
Rajesh Agrawal Deputy London Mayor. Photo: London City Hall

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed virtually every aspect of the way we live and its awful legacy will be felt for a long time. Above all, the loss of life is clearly the most terrible and important impact – and the reason we must do whatever it takes to reduce and ultimately prevent transmission.

The effects of the lockdown are being felt by companies of all sizes and in all sectors, and their employees. While we cannot rush the process of exiting from lockdown, we need to do all we can to keep our small businesses afloat.

Londoners love their favourite independent local businesses – the cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and other traders which keep London’s town centres and high streets vibrant. Many are already supporting shops and businesses which have been able to pivot quickly to trading online.

But for some this isn’t an option – and even for those who can, it may not generate enough turnover to meet their fixed costs.

That’s why Sadiq Khan has launched a new crowdfunding initiative – called Pay It Forward London – aimed at helping members of the public support businesses which are currently struggling. The scheme lets Londoners pay for products or services now, which can be delivered once businesses return to normal or near-normal operation.

London is home to around a quarter of a million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in sectors which could benefit from Pay It Forward London, including retail, food, hospitality and the creative industries. Between them, they employ around 800,000 people.

I share the Mayor’s determination to do everything we can to help London’s businesses stay afloat.

So I’m urging business owners to visit and see how this scheme could help them make their way through the challenges we now face as a city.This scheme is part of a wider package of support City Hall is offering to the capital’s businesses. The Mayor’s London Growth Hub brings together a wide range of expertise and advice into one place and is delivered in partnership with London Economic Action Partnership, the local enterprise partnership for the capital.

It is clear that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be long-lasting and wide-ranging. There remains a great deal of uncertainty about how our economy – and our city – will look when we emerge from this crisis.

But I’m clear that we will emerge – and that London’s dynamic economy will weather the storm of these unprecedented times.

London is a resilient city which has overcome huge challenges in the past. It will do so again.

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor for Business