Over 160 CEOs heading up some of the UK’s leading hospitality businesses have written to the Chancellor ahead of next month’s Budget, stressing the need for support to help the sector survive and rebuild.
In a letter co-ordinated by UKHospitality, leaders called for government support for two key areas, asking for ‘decisive package’ of financial support in the Budget, expected to be delivered in March 8.
The letter calls for the VAT cut to be extended as well as the continuation of the business rates holiday and says it must be delivered to play a key role in rebuilding the economy, and to help drive investment and provide jobs.
The two areas of support are:
- An extension of the 5% rate of VAT for hospitality for another year, expanded to the wider sector
- The continuation of the business rates holiday for hospitality for the whole of 2021/22 giving businesses valuable breathing room to rebuild and address rent debt.
Additionally, the letter calls on the Government to provide a decisive package of fundamental support, including 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 twelve months, hospitality businesses are ready to pick up the pieces of a battered economy and help spearhead our economic revival. We are hopeful that, in the coming weeks and months, we can begin to welcome customers back and we know that people will be eager to socialise with their friends and families safely in our venues.
“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 £2 billion.
“Lots of businesses have taken a beating and many are still only just clinging on. The support that the Government has provided in the past year has been crucial in keeping businesses alive, giving them breathing room and allowing them to keep jobs safe. That support must continue if we want to see as many businesses and jobs secure as possible, and hospitality play the key role we know it can play in rebuilding. 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.”