Industry asks Prime Minister for more help

Robyn Black

Robyn Black

30 September 2020

The Jobs Support Scheme will not help ‘stave off hundreds of thousands of redundancies’ and the 10pm curfew needs to be reviewed, say two open letters from hundreds of hospitality businesses

The first, a letter from pub businesses, restaurant chains and hotel operators organised by UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping, states: ‘Quite simply, we need additional and urgent support in order to survive this bleakest of winters. Businesses are at risk of failure and hundreds of thousands of viable jobs will be lost without government action.’

The letter points out the investment the industry has made in making venues Covid-safe, including PPE equipment, Perspex screens, enhanced cleaning and technology, and contrasts these efforts with the damage now being wreaked by the 10pm curfew.

The signatories have requested that the government makes a commitment to review measures at least every three weeks and that the curfew be removed if ‘demonstrably not working as intended or adjusted to provide for gradual dispersal and avoid the unintended consequences for the wider sector including cultural activities now impacted’.

The letter also states that the Job Support Scheme does not provide enough support to save hundreds of thousands of jobs in the sector; that employer contributions need to be removed for the sector; and that a new package of grant funding for businesses that face restrictions should be brought forward.

‘To plan for a future beyond the winter, the VAT cut and business rates holiday must also be extended through 2021 and beer duty cut,’ the letter ends.

At the same time, the Independent Family Brewers of Britain has also written an open letter criticising the 10pm curfew.

Signatories, including brewers such as Fuller’s Smith & Turner, Daniel Thwaites, Everards, St Austell and S A Brain, said there has been ‘absolutely no indication or evidence’ that pubs have contributed to the rise in Covid-19 infections’.

‘Pubs need to be part of the solution to the current challenges and not the scapegoat,’ they wrote. ‘Particularly when the measures being introduced are illogical, have no basis in statistical evidence and have unintended consequences, such as encouraging late-night house parties with alcohol purchased from off-licences.’

Yesterday hospitality professionals joined forces to launch a Cancel the Curfew campaign.

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