A BUSINESS champion fighting for town centre trade says the effect of coronavirus on the high street will be devastating and urged the Government to lend a hand.

Colin Garnett, manager of Barrow’s Business Improvement District (BID), has called on the Government to make up the BID levy paid by all town centre businesses because of fears some traders may go under.

He said British BID groups were all making the same call as the high street faced oblivion after lockdown measures.

The call came as the Government’s Coronavirus Bill included steps to delay BID ballots for towns until March 2021.

“The effect of coronavirus on the high street is going to be devastating," said Mr Garnett.

“Traders who have been in business for over 30 years have got to the point where they are thinking they might to have to close.

“All the British BIDs are lobbying the Government to pay the levy on behalf of businesses.

“I agree with this massively.

“There has to be help for small businesses and BIDs are extremely important.

“Footfall to the town is already down and business will have struggled this year.”

Mr Garnett said a number of town centre traders had contacted him recently with concerns about their businesses.

Business in the town centre are required to pay a levy to the BID in order to fund events and other improvements to a specific geographical area.

The BID was established in 2016 when business in the district voted in favour of it being founded.

Barrow and Furness MP Simon Fell said: “There is an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill which will enable BIDs to extend their work until March 31 2021 by delaying BID ballots.

“This is a sensible way forward giving the economic uncertainty at the moment.”

The past 18 months has already proved to be a difficult time for high streets in Barrow and up down the country.

Barrow will lose its Marks and Spencer supermarket, Topshop and Carphone Warehouse stores.