Extended lockdown means pubs, bars, cafes and hotels across Wales immediately need a new and potent cash cocktail of financial support to survive, says UKHospitality Cymru.
UKHospitality Cymru executive director David Chapman said: “The Welsh Government has worked with us to define and deliver sector specific help which, with the crucial contributions of furlough, business rates relief and VAT cuts from Westminster, has kept many of our businesses alive.
“However, our current sector help here in Wales only covered businesses until January 21 and all the signs are next week’s Government three-week review will continue lockdown.
“It is possible we will face enforced closures or very limited trading possibly to Easter and even beyond, and with vital Westminster help running out, a serious financial cliff edge is looming large on the horizon.
“We need a further protected and ring-fenced sector specific fund in Wales that can extend existing assistance and, in particular, this should focus on our businesses that provide jobs to local people.
“Even while closed, they continue to pay overheads, National Insurance and other contributions to keep their furloughed staff on payroll and have nothing left to do that.”
“At the moment Business Rates relief, a significant help for many larger employers, will end in early April- and Furlough at the end of April.
“If this vital support is stripped away or reduced then jobs will have to go on a significant scale as employers are now without reserves and leveraged to the hilt.”
UKHospitality Cymru is urging the Chancellor to extend the VAT cut to 5 per cent for a further 12 months and enact a further business rates holiday for hospitality for 2021/22 to protect communities and repair businesses.
Chapman continued: “Hospitality must be prioritised and made an economic “beacon” in the new Welsh Government recovery strategy. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics earlier this week show UK GDP falling in November by 2.6 per cent. Hospitality, a sector that, in November, was effectively closed down across England and closed down for a week in Wales and then heavily restricted, was responsible for just over one-third of the decline.
“This really hammers home how important our sector is to the economy. The figures highlight our power as an economic driver and show why we should be at the heart of plans to revitalise the Welsh economy.”