Worthing language school is in desperate need of corporate tariff relief


Suzie Abrahamson, director of CES Worthing at Stoke Abbott Road, said she and staff have been campaigning for relief since June of last year, but “they are still being turned down.”

“The decision not to give us relief seems so unfair given that so many other councils have already set a precedent by confirming that they will offer trade tariff relief for 2020/21,” she added. .

“We are the last year-round language school in Worthing and we are desperately trying to survive this pandemic and the only way to do that is to take advantage of the trade tariff relief we and other councils are thinking of. be eligible. ”

Suzie Abrahamson pictured with Antonio Amorim (left), Chris Williams and Conrad Bezuidenhout outside CES Worthing. Photo: Steve Robards

For over 40 years, CES Worthing has welcomed thousands of students from all over the world to the UK, Ireland and Canada to study English.

Many students stay with local host families or hotels in our city, bringing millions of pounds back to the local economy just for the cost of accommodation.

Additionally, Suzie said students spend around £ 600,000 a year in and around Worthing on hospitality, tourism, food and drink, travel and retail.

But the English language education industry (ELT) is in crisis due to the pandemic, she added, as student numbers are down and staff have lost their jobs or been put on leave.

Worthing CES students pictured in 2019

“We want to make people aware of the real importance of our contribution to the local economy,” continued Suzie.

“And protect the livelihoods of our staff, supplement the household income of our host families, and support other tourism and leisure businesses, including cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops and attractions. “

Language schools were not included in the guidelines to local authorities as being eligible for commercial tariff relief – retail discount.

However, local councils have been empowered to decide for themselves which businesses are eligible.

Suzie Abrahamson pictured with Antonio Amorim (left), Chris Williams and Conrad Bezuidenhout outside CES Worthing. Photo: Steve Robards Suzie Abrahamson pictured with Antonio Amorim (left), Chris Williams and Conrad Bezuidenhout outside CES Worthing. Photo: Steve Robards

Other schools in the St Giles group, in Brighton and Eastbourne, have received relief, as have schools in some other local authorities across the country.

In response, a spokesperson for the Worthing Borough Council said: “Expanded Retail Relief is a government program with rewards based on strict criteria which state that it is only for premises that members of the public can normally – In the pre-Covid era – visit.

“Since the Center for English Studies (CES) serves clients who pre-book stays, they are not eligible. We were clear and open on the criteria from the start.

“Recognizing the importance that these and other language schools play in the local economy, we have been proactive in providing practical and financial support during this difficult time.

“In the case of CES, that includes a discretionary grant of almost £ 60,000. “

CES Worthing said it was “very grateful for the help it has received so far, but the current framework allows for much needed additional support.”

Chris Williams, CFO, said, “Customers can get off the streets and pre-book exactly the same way hotels operate, so that can’t be a reason not to give us rate relief. The guidelines allow the board to use its own discretion, which is why more than 15 boards have already awarded awards. We are no different from other language schools. The economic boost CES is giving Worthing is worth saving. We believe the relief is deserved.

Worthing MP Sir Peter Bottomley said he and his team “have long supported the campaign for trade tariff relief for this sector given the obvious challenges faced during the pandemic”.

He added: “We have been in close contact with the director and the CES team in Worthing. The center has long been a respected and acclaimed facility that contributes immensely not only to our local economy, but also to our society and community.


Sylvester L. Goldfarb