Government advice for people to avoid going to bars, pubs and restaurants is 'catastrophic'

Robyn Black

Robyn Black

17 March 2020

The Government must act now, says Kate Nicholls, chief exec of industry body UK Hospitality

‘This is catastrophic for businesses and jobs,' she said. ‘The government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support, and this announcement will lead to thousands of businesses closing their doors for good, and hundreds of thousands of job losses.

‘Over the past few weeks the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees. This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.

‘The Government must act now to stop them going under and protect the people’s jobs. These venues play a unique role as community hubs and it’s in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis.

‘We need immediate and far-reaching support from the government, and meaningful business continuity measures.’

The British Beer & Pub Association has also called for help for the industry.

Reports in the news suggests chief executive Emma McClarkin has asked for the cancellation of all business rates payments for six months, as well as all tax payments including PAYE, VAT and corporation tax for pubs and hospitality businesses. In a letter seen last night by the news agency PA, she also requests the cancellation of beer duty payments for six months, and the postponement of the planned national minimum and living wage increases due in April.

‘Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity,’ she said in a separate statement.

New reports suggest the chancellor Rishi Sunak will unveil a package of measures to help tackle those affected by recent measures. Keep an eye on our social feeds and website for the latest developments.

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