Kate Nicholls, CEO at UKHospitality, has today gone in front of MPs to stress the need for advance notice of the December reopening, and ‘clear, transparent, evidence-based’ restrictions with a clear end date for sector businesses and workers.
Nicholls, who has worked tirelessly to champion the hospitality industry throughout the pandemic, today virtually met with MPs part of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and focus on the importance of targeted plans to support venues going forward.
Nicholls took to Twitter to share her key messages, including a 30-day and a 90-day plan, a VAT cut extension, and how to plug the ‘blackhole’ in cashflows from the removal of the Job Retention Bonus scheme. She added that many operators believe it will be 2023 before they return to profit or pre-pandemic levels of trading.
“We need early confirmation of reopening in December, advance notice of which parts of the country are in which tier, clear, transparent, evidence based restrictions which are targeted and effective, stability not weekly changing, a clear end date,” she voiced on Twitter.
“That’s the 30 day plan – we need a 90 day plan to support business: plug the £1.5bn blackhole in hospitality cashflows from Job Retention bonus being scrapped; stem the £0.5bn per month cash burn from being closed; extend rent moratoria; extend rates and VAT support thru 2021
“Best way to support hospitality is to get as much of the sector open as quickly as possibly and with as few additional restrictions as possible (commensurate with public health) bearing in mind significant controls introduced in July which have kept teams and customers safe.
“July-Sept – 20m workshifts but less than 0.5% of our teams had a positive test – 60m customer visits a week but less than 2% of cases linked to hospitality – less than 1% of outlets contacted by test and trace – three quarters of customers see us as covid safe.
“Restrictions since Sept have seen revenues fall from -15% of normal trade to -65% at the point of lockdown. It means recovery has been pushed back too: after lockdown 1, half our members thought they would break even by the end of the year, now 43% don’t it will be before 2022.
“And a further 20% of operators think it will be H1 2022 or later before they break even. Return to post pandemic revenue levels and profit not forecast to 2023.”