UKHospitality: GDP figures highlight hospitality’s need for support

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UKHospitality: GDP figures highlight hospitality’s need for support during Coronavirus crisis

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Trade body UKHospitality has said the GDP estimates released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) underline the hugely disproportionate hit felt by hospitality businesses during the Coronavirus crisis.

ONS figures show the UK economy contracted by 2% in the first quarter of 2020. The decline was driven by a record fall in March, and reportedly marks the fastest pace the economy has shrank since 2008.

Referring to its own Quarterly Tracker, which was published last month​, UKHospitality said that sales in the hospitality sector saw a 21.3% drop in the three months to March, highlighting how hospitality has taking an 'unprecedented and hugely disproportionate hit' as a result of the pandemic, and must remain a special case for Government support going forward.

“The hit the economy has taken is a substantial one but it is eclipsed by the hammering hospitality has taken," says UKHospitality chef executive Kate Nicholls.

"The declines we are seeing in other sectors, alarming though they may be, are incidental compared to the truly alarming hit that ours is taking.

“The economy’s 5.8% decline in March alone will have been similarly dwarfed by hospitality’s misfortune, as lockdown and forced closures came into force, stopping trade for most venues altogether.

“This shines a light on the dire and unique position in which our sector has been placed. Ours was the first to take a hit, took the hardest hit, and will take longer than most to recover. Hospitality needs additional support to ensure that swathes of businesses do no fail altogether and to avoid millions of jobs being lost. We need continued and flexible support on furlough, rents and insurance, so that businesses can plan ahead, save livelihoods and help to drive economic recovery."

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