More than 200 industry leaders and trade bodies representing the UK’s hospitality and pub sectors have today warned the Government that, unless a substantial package of support is announced at the Budget, more businesses will fail before they have a chance to reopen.
Hospitality Ulster, UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) – as well as representatives from leading businesses owning pubs, restaurants, hotels, leisure venues and more – have written to the Chancellor highlighting the dire position of many businesses and the urgent need for financial support.
The letter sent to the Chancellor states:
- One in five businesses do not have enough cash to survive the rest of February.
- Nearly two-thirds do not have enough cash to survive until the end of May.
- Businesses are spending, on average, £10,000 per month to remain closed.
- Trading restrictions will leave businesses unable to breakeven until the June lifting of restrictions.
The letter calls on the Chancellor to unveil an urgent package of support at the Budget to bridge the latest closure period including:
- An extension of the 5% VAT rate with the cut widened to include other products and services across hospitality.
- A full business rates holiday for 2021/22.
- Extension of full furlough with no National Insurance Contributions for closed businesses.
- Enhanced grants for hospitality businesses until fully reopened, with State Aid rules disapplied.
- A beer duty cut.
- No repayment of HMRC debts before 1st July.
- Extension of the rent moratoria with Government and stakeholders working towards finding a solution to the rent debt crisis.
In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “This week’s announcements of the plan for reopening the economy has sent shock waves through the nation’s hospitality businesses.”
“There is a genuine fear amongst many in our sector that businesses are going to fail and jobs will be lost at the eleventh hour.”
“One-fifth of businesses will run out of cash this month and nearly two-thirds will run out by the end of May. Meanwhile, costs continue to pile up for businesses that cannot yet open, only putting more at risk. Many businesses that provide crucial jobs and support investment in communities across the country will fail before they have a chance to reopen their doors.”
“The Chancellor must announce a substantial package of financial support at next month’s Budget to keep these businesses alive until the summer. The sector will not be back to viable trading until restrictions are removed in June so emergency support needs to reflect this.”
“After a year of misery, the end is now finally in sight. The Government cannot allow business to fail now, when the reopening of our sector is within touching distance. Members of the public are desperately looking forward to socialising with their friends and family, for the first time in over a year in many cases. If the Government does not act, they may not be able to.”