A petition has been launched to persuade Merton Council to grant language schools with business rates relief.

There are currently three language schools in Merton which are accredited by the British Council.

Wimbledon School of English, Milner School of English, and CES Wimbledon, have been forced to close their doors due to the pandemic.

The schools which depend heavily on international travel are concerned that business may not resume until 2021- due to travel being one of the last parts of the economy to recover.

Wimbledon Times:

Schools say their competitors in other boroughs have been awarded the holiday and have referred to the rate relief as a 'postcode lottery'.

The language schools have labelled the refusal of grants as 'unjust' and have launched a desperate plea to the council to reconsider their decision.

A spokesperson for Wimbledon School of English said: "For the past few months, ELT schools have been barely treading water by offering online classes.

"Without being able to welcome students physically, we are all struggling to survive.

"Wimbledon School of English pays business rates of just over 100K pa.

"It seems that we are being penalised purely because we happen to be based in Merton.

"Despite our representations, Merton seems unaware of the value we bring to the community, both financially and culturally.

"Why can't London councils do the right thing and give us a break?"

A spokesperson for Wimbledon CES said:"The majority of our students stay in local host families within the borough, bringing an income of almost £1 million in accommodation fees per annum.

"Plus approximate local spending of £600,000 per annum in the Wimbledon area. 

"Our contribution to the local economy is substantial.

"We are seeking Business Rates Relief to help our school bridge the coming months until international travel resumes and students return.

"Please help us."

Signatures reached 1,973 at the time of publishing.

To sign visit at Save local language schools