Federation of Small Businesses calls on Government to develop strategy to bolster hospitality's recovery

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Federation of Small Businesses calls on Government to develop strategy to bolster hospitality and tourism as it recovers from Coronavirus pandemic

Related tags Federation of small businesses Government Hospitality Staff Recruitment Obesity Advertising

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has made a series of recommendations to help bolster the hospitality sector as it recovers from the Coronavirus pandemic.

In its latest report, titled A Menu for Recovery​, the FSB calls on the Government to develop a strategy for hospitality and tourism that focuses on short, medium and long-term support for the sector. 

Recommendations include making permanent the streamlined procedure to allow businesses that sell food and drink to apply to the local authority for a pavement licence; maintaining the right for pubs, cafes and restaurants to be able to operate as a takeaway alongside their main business; and introducing a ventilation grant scheme to assist small businesses in making their premises Covid-secure for the long term.

The report also takes aim at the Government's upcoming Health and Care Bill​, calling for an amendment to the blanket ban on online advertising for foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) to enable small businesses in the sector to recover from Covid-19 by continuing to advertise their products to customers via newsletters and social media pages.

"While some advertising restrictions may be necessary to support the plan to tackle obesity, a total ban online, and watershed on TV, will be detrimental to small hospitality and tourism businesses," the report reads.

The FSB's words echo comments made by the British Takeaway Campaign (BTC) last year​, which warned that a total ban on online adverts HFSS foods 'risks clobbering thousands of takeaways and restaurants'.

Elsewhere, the Federation also suggests the introduction of minimum standards for responding to businesses on licensing and inspections, such as food hygiene ratings, which it says will allow businesses to open and operate safely as quickly as possible.

It writes: "Where systematic problems are uncovered by this process, Government should address what process innovations or resourcing is necessary to rectify delays that prevent businesses from starting up and growing their business."

Trade body UKHospitality has welcomed the report, saying the recommendations echo many of its own demands relating to how the Government can best support small businesses to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.

“Smaller and independent hospitality operators have suffered greatly during the pandemic and the four week extension of restrictions creates greater uncertainty about their future," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

"These businesses provide valuable jobs across all regions of the UK and really are the lifeblood of the sector."

With the hospitality sector in the grips of a staffing crisis​, the FSB also recommends the Government should focus on reducing non-wage employment costs like Employer NICs and uprate the Employment Allowance.

Additionally, it suggests an extension to the Kickstart scheme beyond 2021; and ensure T Levels work for smaller hospitality and tourism businesses by extending incentive payments for employers to deliver industry placements beyond July 2022.

"We welcome the focus on encouraging more potential recruits to think of careers in these sectors and incentivising employers to deliver greater numbers of work placements," continues Nicholls.

"Extending the business rates holiday and VAT rate reduction into next year are two levers the Government can pull to enable the sector to power the economic recovery.

“Critically, we must see a publicly-stated commitment that such support will be in place giving businesses much-needed reassurance after what will be 16 months of closure and significantly constrained trading. Otherwise the Government risks jeopardises the return on investment that hospitality will offer if given permission to trade freely.”

To read the full FSB A Menu for Recovery ​report, click here​.

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