“It’s incredibly tough out there and unless something is done many more will go.”

Alex South

Alex South


More than six hundred signatories have backed a petition calling on the government to reduce VAT to 10% as the ongoing cost of living crisis and national recession continues to suffocate Britain’s hospitality industry.

The award-winning restauranteur and hospitality campaigner Andy Lennox started the petition to help bring about change following the closure of businesses across the industry.

“I've seen and heard of more operators go out of business in the last couple of weeks and months that during the whole of COVID,” Andy said.

Andy’s most recent petition follows previous attempts to persuade the UK government into implementing strategies that provide proper support for the industry following a worsening situation for businesses nationally.

Highlighting the current climate for hospitality, he said: “It’s incredibly tough out there and unless something is done many more will go. Like, or dislike a petition, there needs to be an online rallying point. It’s one of the only a small number of levers Hospitality can pull, lobby, demo, petition.”

He added: “The Government aren’t listening; we have to make them see that hospitality is the engine of the economy when we stutter the economy stutters.”

The petition from Andy is the latest effort from industry professionals and representatives to bring about essential change to ultimately protect jobs and prevent further firms becoming insolvent

Speaking to The Staff Canteen, Andreas Antona, owner of Michelin-starred Simpsons and The Cross at Kenilworth, said: “The government is in danger of bringing the hospitality industry to its knees. With wholesale closures and job losses if they persist on 100% vat duty and in my opinion, it makes a mockery of the investment that they put into furlough and keeping us alive during covid when they are only completing half the job."

He added: “In my opinion vat should never have gone to its full rate until the hospitality and retail industry recovered fully.”

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The UK’s hospitality sector has enormous potential to turbocharge the everyday economy; delivering value, creating jobs and driving economic growth."

Focussing on rising energy bills for businesses, Kate added: “Prior to the energy crisis, which is proving to be so devastating, the sector was forecast to grow by 3%. To achieve this growth, we now need to see government take a longer-term look at what will boost businesses and inspire confidence to invest."

“Addressing pre-profit taxes needs to be a priority and, in particular, introducing a lower rate of VAT would be a galvanising action from government. It was the most valued support measure introduced during the pandemic, through boosting margins, saving jobs and helping the consumer with 70% of businesses passing the benefit onto consumers through a price cut. A lower rate of VAT is a true win-win for business and the public," Kate said.

Celebrity Chef and Michelin-starred restauranteur, Tom Kerridge, commented: “A reduction in VAT would be a real boost and a shot in the arm for hospitality. With a huge amount of rising costs coming into the business front end, it means that a tax break will allow businesses to absorb and work with food inflation and energy prices in the short term, allowing businesses to react and adapt quickly to the rapidly changing financial landscape in front of them."

Tom added: "This will be essential to the survival of many, many hospitality businesses and without government support the amount of closures that we are already witnessing will begin to increase.”

Click here to sign the petition and find out more

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Alex South

Alex South

Editor 8th November 2022

“It’s incredibly tough out there and unless something is done many more will go.”