UKH: Hospitality industry 'remains on a knife edge'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UKH: Hospitality industry 'remains on a knife edge'

Related tags ukhospitality Government Coronavirus lockdown

UKHospitality (UKH) has warned that the industry 'remains on a knife edge' in a call for the Government to commit to five key measures to 'help the sector rebuild'.

The trade body, which last week published figures showing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had led to a loss of nearly £115bn across the sector​, says that in order to emerge from the pandemic in a position to fully play its role in the wider economic recovery of the country, businesses 'needs a more stable and predictable operating environment' as well as further support.

“Businesses in our sector are low on cash, deep in debt and facing rising costs across the board, including a hike to 20% VAT in April,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

Coming as Prime Minister Boris Johnson prepares to unveil the Government's long-term strategy for living with Covid later today (21 February), UKH is calling on the Government to ensure that restrictions are consistent nationwide; operators are trusted to keep their staff and customers safe; international borders remain open; flexibility is built into our health infrastructure; and communication is clear.

Reflecting the confusion of the tier system that was in force at different times in one form or another across the UK, the trade body says any future restrictions on business must be as consistent as possible across the country.

It also states that operators are best placed to understand their venues and customers, adding that as we learn to live with Covid, the most effective way to proceed is for Covid management to be folded into the existing risk assessments of individual businesses.

With regards to international travel, UKH says that 'we must avoid at all costs a return to decisions that prevent international tourism to the UK and damage consumer confidence in domestic travel and large events'.

Rather than restrictions, the trade group believes living with Covid requires depending on those measures proven to be most effective in combating the virus, such as vaccines and testing resources, to be swiftly implemented as necessary. And with relation to the impact public messaging can have on consumer confidence, it adds that future Government communication should be mindful of the vital role hospitality plays in our communities and in the UK’s economic recovery.

Additionally, to support businesses financially, the group has once again called on the Government to maintain the current 12.5% rate of VAT permanently, rather than revert to the pre-pandemic level of 20% in April, as is currently planned by the Treasury. 

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