UK hospitality leaders call for government support to save the industry

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

06 July 2020

Around 120 leading hospitality voices have co-signed a business support and investment proposal for the government that would help the industry through the Covid-19 crisis

According to trade body UKHospitality, sales within the hospitality sector are expected to fall by 56% year-on-year, which will translate in a revenue loss of about £73.4bn. Furthermore, the trade body claimed that around 50% of the UK’s hospitality businesses do not expect to reach break-even earlier than the end of 2021.

‘Our sector has been a high-profile casualty of this crisis and businesses are only now just beginning to reopen,’ commented UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.

‘For those businesses that have survived, the hard work begins now. We cannot assume that we are now in the clear just because our doors are open again. Many businesses have taken huge hits and hundreds of thousands of jobs are still in the balance.’

With the crisis hitting the entire sector, a broad range of hospitality leaders have signed the proposal aimed at preventing further business failures and maintaining jobs.

The proposal advises the government to offer support according to three criteria:

  • Restart, by ‘extending the deferral of all tax liabilities currently falling due in July (eg PAYE) to cover the closure and reopening period in full; removing the obligation to pay interest on late payment’, and by establishing a grant to help businesses cover rent debt.
  • Recover, by incentivising spend through a VAT reduction to 5% for hospitality services and by extending the furlough scheme for hospitality employers until the end of October.
  • Revive, by ‘extending the hospitality business rates holiday to March 2022 ahead of fundamental reform of the business tax system’.

‘If we want to make a real success of this reopening, keep businesses alive and jobs secure,’ said Nicholls, ‘then the Government needs to provide support. Support from the Government has been extremely helpful in keeping venues afloat and it has saved jobs. There is no possibility of stopping now, though. Anything less than a full show of support from the Government risks undoing much of the good work that has already been done and will cause lasting damage to employment and the UK economy. We urge the Government to act decisively and positively to give hospitality the best possible chance of not only surviving the crisis but thriving in the aftermath.’

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