UKHospitality has called on the Government to deliver a package of support for hospitality, following the PM’s announcement yesterday.
The trade body has warned that job losses and business failures will be an inevitability unless support is immediate and wide-ranging.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These restrictions are a further, potentially fatal, blow for many hospitality businesses. In isolation, they may appear moderate, but the cumulative effect is going to be hugely damaging. Consumer confidence is going to take another hit and we cannot hope to recover while confidence remains low.
“The Government must immediately announce an exhaustive package of financial support, otherwise our sector is facing ruin. Employment support must be extended. The furlough scheme is already wining down and it comes to a complete halt at the end of October. Unless it is extended for our sector, businesses are inevitably going to have to make staff redundant. We are looking at a steady stream of job losses for six months, otherwise.
“We also must have longer-term support to enable businesses to rebuild in 2021. The VAT cut for the sector must be extended as must the business rates holiday. We also need a rent-debt settlement package, otherwise whole businesses are going to go under with widespread redundancies.”
Rob Paterson, chief executive of Best Western Great Britain, agrees: “We will do everything we can to support the Government in stopping the spread of the virus but what our industry needs right now is new, targeted support to help keep businesses open, keep people in jobs and keep the economy functioning as best we can through the next six months. Hospitality can do that like no other industry.
“Many of our hotels are SMEs, at the sharp end of this crisis. They are not Premier Inn, Hilton, Accor or IHG with access to borrowing and deep pockets, this is the very real, very human, very scary reality for normal people who have put their lives into their businesses and face a very uncertain future. Short-term, targeted, workable schemes could mean the difference between continuing trading and families being able to pay their bills and the prospect of a tsunami of unemployment and more hotels being closed for good. We would welcome the opportunity to speak to the Chancellor about our members’ concerns and find a way forward together.”