Government accused of failing to support business in cost of living crisis

The  Staff Canteen

No Mention of business relief was given in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement of measures to support low income households yesterday, a consortium of hospitality representatives have deplored

The Chancellor of the Exchequer unveiled a number of relief payments to tackle the cost of living crisis affecting people across the UK: a £400 energy grant for all households, a £650 payment for the country's eight million lowest-income households, £300 for eight million pensioners, and a one-off payment of £150 for six million people living with disabilities.

These are being funded by a new £5 billion windfall levy on oil and gas companies. A move that was, according to The Times, criticised by some cabinet ministers as they claimed it would damage long term investment in the UK.

Representatives of the hospitality industry are now calling for support targeted at small and medium businesses, who are already struggling to come to terms with the return to 20 percent VAT, increased energy costs and higher food prices.

The industry also needs support

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industry Association, was, to some extent, supportive of the government's announcement, decrying a "somewhat light touch, given the gravity of the current pressures."

However, he added: "We feel hugely disappointed and frustrated [that] the Chancellor and government have not taken the opportunity to fully support businesses within this announcement at such a critical time. Time is running out for businesses as costs ramp up, and we continue to call for a reduction in VAT back down to 12.5 percent and an energy cap for small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said the government needs "to act now and take measures to immediately bring down costs and alleviate the pressures on our pubs and brewers," as "the fortunes of our sector hang in the balance."

"This is why we have been calling for an energy price cap for small businesses, to ensure fair energy deals for businesses across hospitality and beyond. A further package of small business support is needed to reduce the huge burden and allow pubs and brewers to get back on their feet instead of placing more barriers in the way of their recovery.”

Meanwhile, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls was supportive of the direct action given to support lower-income households - but also called for more help to be given to struggling businesses. 

She said: "We need a commensurate focus to reduce the costs of doing businesses, to reduce further price rises. The government needs to identify and accelerate policies that will cut costs, minimise red tape and accelerate growth."

"A reiteration of its commitment to cut business taxes to incentivise investment in high streets, people and innovation would also help to settle nerves across many sectors, including hospitality.”

This sentiment was supported by others, such as Lionel Benjamin, co-founder of AGO Hotels, and East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles.

As reported by Business Live, Scott said: "Companies will be hugely disappointed there was nothing in the Chancellor’s statement to help them in the short and medium terms, given we are in the grip of a very real cost of doing business crisis that shows no sign of slowing down with inflation continuing to rise." 

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th May 2022

Government accused of failing to support business in cost of living crisis