Chief executives of the UK’s top pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, hotels, leisure parks, nightclubs, entertainment venues, and visitor attractions have signed a letter to the Chancellor, ahead of his Budget on Wednesday.
Hoteliers such as Stephen Cassidy, MD at Hilton, Joanna Kurowska, MD at IHG Hotels, Joanne Taylor-Stagg, GM at the Athenaeum Hotel, Alison Wilson, managing partner at Balmer Lawn Hotel, Claridge’s general manager Paul Jackson, Graeme Bateman, MD at Elite Hotels, The Beamount’s managing director Duncan Palmer and Neil Kedward, owner of Seren Collection have pledged their support to the campaign, which calls for a permanent reduced rate of 12.5% VAT for the hospitality and tourism.
The letter asks for help to rebuild businesses and play a full part in the nation’s recovery, alongside meaningful support on business rates.
The letter also highlights the benefits of a permanent 12.5% rate of VAT for the industry, including:
- Putting a halt to price rises for hard-working families
- Enabling the industry to generate new jobs
- Supporting higher wages and better training
- Unlocking capital to deliver a greener future
- Allowing businesses in the sector to remain globally competitive.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Under current plans, VAT returns to its pre-pandemic level of 20% next April, meaning higher prices for consumers just at the time when they can least afford it. For businesses it will undoubtedly set off an inflationary spiral which will undermine wage growth, hit demand and ultimately threaten jobs.
“It will come at the exact same time as we hit a a cliff-edge of the end of business rates reliefs on outdated valuations – currently hospitality pays 10% of the rates bill for an industry that generates around 3% of GDP. On top of this we’re facing a chronic labour shortage, supply chain issues, cost inflation across the board, and rises in the National Living Wage and National Insurance Contributions.
“Fundamental reforms are therefore crucial to the industry’s survival, a key part of which will be keeping VAT at 12.5% permanently. This will allow us to circumnavigate the monumental challenges we face and enable operators and their teams to concentrate time and resources on what they do best – driving economic growth and serving their communities.
“Longer term, there is no doubt that a return to the higher rate of VAT will prevent the industry playing its full part in the Government’s levelling up agenda and in delivering its commitment to focus on good work, better skills, and higher wages. That is why it’s vital the Chancellor must keep VAT permanently at 12.5% for our sector.”