UKHospitality: 'Give the sector hope for recovery'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UKHospitality calls on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to provide restaurants and pubs with support Tier 4 Coronavirus

Related tags ukhospitality Coronavirus tier system lockdown

UKHospitality has renewed its calls for the Government to provide a greater financial support package for businesses in the sector affected by tighter Coronavirus restrictions.

Following the placing of London and part of the south east into a new tighter Tier 4 alert level​, the trade body has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanding he work with the industry to devise a 'clear exit strategy' from the crisis.

The open letter calls on the Government to deliver a compensation scheme that brings it in line with countries such as Germany.

It also urges Downing Street to extend the cut in the VAT rate until at least the end of the year and reintroduce a business rates holiday for 2021-22 to 'avoid the April cliff edge that threatens survival' for businesses.

At the moment businesses that are unable to operate as a result of lockdown restrictions are only able to claim a meagre grant of up to £3,000 per month, alongside furlough costs.

UKHospitality has asked Johnson to commit to working with the industry early in the new year on a clear exit strategy and route map for reopening, and called for the reduction and removal of business restrictions to be linked to the roll out of the vaccination and rapid testing.

The letter states: “Livelihoods are being destroyed in front of our eyes, and the impact on the sector and our communities will be long-lasting. We need a signal of government’s intent to de-escalate the tiers and that support is forthcoming to sustain investment over the winter.

”It must be realised furlough is not enough on its own to protect jobs, as it still costs business to keep people on and relies on those businesses remaining solvent. It is too late for the many hospitality businesses that have already failed but, although the profitable Christmas period has been effectively wiped out, there may be time to rescue other companies heading toward the same fate.

“While it is vital this plan is activated urgently, it cannot make up for the financial damage that has devastated the sector since the introduction of tiered restrictions (or earlier for areas that faced them in advance of their codification into a national system).

"The current support package of grants is simply inadequate and leaves businesses on the verge of collapse, taking on even greater debt and depleting any remaining cash reserves.

”If these [asks] are delivered, there is hope this sector can recover and return prosperity across the country in the speediest manner. We urgently need Government to engage with us on both a return to trading and the right level of business support now and into 2021.”

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