'We need to make sure the hospitality sector is in the best possible position to help rebuild'

The  Staff Canteen

160 Hospitality chiefs have signed a called on chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to back hospitality industry in his 2021 budget.

Leaders of the UK’s most prominent hospitality businesses - from Fuller's chief executive Simon Emeny and Pizza Express MD Zoe Bowley to The Restaurant Group's CEO Andy Hornby - signed the letter, spearheaded by UKHospitality, calling for support to help the sector survive, rebuild and drive the economic recovery of the country as it emerges from the Covid-19 crisis.

The letter shines light on two key areas of government support that need to be delivered in order for it to play a key role in rebuilding the economy, to help drive investment and provide jobs.

First and foremost is an extension of the 5% rate of VAT for hospitality for another year, which it says should be expanded to the wider sector to include on-premises alcohol sales, leisure activities and weddings; and second is the continuation of the business rates holiday for hospitality until 2022, which would give businesses much-needed breathing room to rebuild and address rent debt.

Additionally, the letter calls on the government to provide a comprehensive support package including an extension of the furlough scheme, improved loan repayment terms to increase liquidity, deferral of government-owed debt and replacement of the Job Retention Bonus.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Despite the carnage of the past 12 months, hospitality businesses are ready to pick up the pieces of a battered economy and help spearhead our economic revival. That means we need to start laying the groundwork now. We need to make sure the hospitality sector is in the best possible position to help rebuild as we done in the past.

"Extending and expanding the cut in VAT will play a crucial role in boosting demand and customer confidence. Our sector is labour-intensive so this will instantly result in more jobs. Removing business rates will allow businesses to repair shattered balance sheets, including tackling the rent mountain that has now hit £2bn.

"Lots of businesses have taken a beating and many are still only just clinging on. There is no point in the government undoing all the good work it has done in 2020 by pulling the rug from under us as we get back on our feet.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 15th February 2021

'We need to make sure the hospitality sector is in the best possible position to help rebuild'