UK Chancellor urged to support hospitality in Budget

UK: More than 200 businesses and trade bodies representing the UK’s hospitality and pub sectors have co-signed a letter to Rishi Sunak highlighting that almost two-thirds do not have the funds to survive until the end of May.

UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), as well as owners of hotels, restaurants, pubs, leisure venues and more, have called on the chancellor to announce emergency support for these businesses.

The letter calls for an extension of the five per cent VAT rate, business rates holiday, furlough scheme and rent moratorium; enhanced grants until 21 June; no repayment of HMRC debts before 1 July; and to run a second Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Unless a package of support is announced, the letter also highlights that two-thirds of businesses will not be able to survive until the end of May, with one in five unable to survive the rest of February alone. The current trading restrictions mean that businesses cannot breakeven until legal limits are lifted in June.

In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “This week’s announcement of the plan for reopening the economy has sent shock waves through the nation’s hospitality businesses. There is a genuine fear amongst many in our sector that businesses are going to fail and jobs will be lost at the eleventh hour. One-fifth of businesses will run out of cash this month and nearly two-thirds will run out by the end of May. Meanwhile, costs continue to pile up for businesses that cannot yet open, only putting more at risk. Many businesses that provide crucial jobs and support investment in communities across the country will fail before they have a chance to reopen their doors.

“The Chancellor must announce a substantial package of financial support at next month’s Budget to keep these businesses alive until the summer. The sector will not be back to viable trading until restrictions are removed in June so emergency support needs to reflect this.

“After a year of misery, the end is now finally in sight. The Government cannot allow business to fail now, when the reopening of our sector is within touching distance. Members of the public are desperately looking forward to socialising with their friends and family, for the first time in over a year in many cases. If the Government does not act, they may not be able to.”

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