Independent Business Network tables £35bn strategy to save hospitality

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Independent Business Network tables £35bn strategy to save hospitality

Related tags Independent Business Network brexit coronavirus Eat Out To Help Out

A £35bn strategy to save Britain’s pubs, restaurants and high streets from ‘irreversible decline’ has been put forward by pro-Brexit organisation the Independent Business Network.

The measures include halving Britain’s alcohol taxes, including alcohol in hospitality’s reduced VAT rates, extending hospitality’s reduced VAT rates for the remainder of 2021, freezing town centre parking fees and - eventually - cutting VAT rate payable by physical retailers to 14%. 

The Independent Business Network says the package is designed to save 500,000 jobs and salvage Britain’s hospitality and high street economies from financial ‘oblivion’. 

A key priority, the report’s authors argue, is the introduction of a rebate for the safety equipment purchased on mass by pubs and restaurants.

The IBN argues that in many cases these investments were made on the basis of the tenor of the Government’s announcements at the start of the initial lockdown that, once the spread of the virus had been curtailed, the hospitality sector would reopen.

“As a consequence of the Government’s messaging, pub landlords and restaurant owners the length and breadth of the country invested in expensive PPE and other equipment to ensure social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus only to discover that, in fact, the sector would be plunged once again into closure and their equipment investment rendered redundant,” says Independent Business Network chairman John Longworth.

The report is also calling for the reintroduction of Eat Out To Help Out alongside a ‘pro-hospitality’ advertising push at an estimated cost of £1.08bn and the continuation of the suspension of business rates until the end of this year. 

It points out that the economic collapse in Britain’s hospitality sector -- responsible for over three million jobs -- accounts for roughly one-third of the overall slump in GDP.

“The comprehensive £35bn package of measures we have set out here today are vital to saving our pubs, restaurants and high streets from financial ruin,” continues Longworth. 

“We urge the Government to adopt them and save up to 500,000 jobs and countless family run businesses from destitution. After all, the parlous state our hospitality industry is facing is a symptom of the Government’s own actions.”

“Successive draconian lockdowns imposed by central Government have decimated our hospitality and high street retail sectors to the extent that many are facing the looming prospect of financial oblivion and, in some cases, irreversible decline.”

“The travesty is that much of this damage was entirely avoidable and was a by-product of poor leadership and an ill-informed effort on the part of Government to get to grips with the virus.”

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