Hospitality leaders demand action at spring Budget

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality leaders demand action at spring Budget in letter to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt

Related tags Hospitality ukhospitality Budget

The bosses of 155 hospitality businesses have signed an open letter urging the Chancellor to take immediate action to ‘unshackle’ the sector and ‘unleash its potential’ at the spring Budget.

The letter was signed by the entire spectrum of hospitality in the UK, with signatories ranging from leading brands to single-site operators. They include Raymond Blanc's Brasserie Bar Co; Vietnamese street food brand Pho; and Martin Williams's Rare Restaurants group. 

It was co-ordinated by UKHospitality, representing over 100,000 venues in a sector that employs millions of people, with the potential to significantly increase its employment with the right measures.

The trade body says the letter is a clear demonstration that the sector is behind UKHospitality’s asks of the Chancellor at the Budget to tackle ongoing cost pressures, particularly around energy, to prevent price increases and actually help drive down inflation.

It warns that ongoing inflation and debt pressures are holding the sector back from delivering economic growth and that, without action, there could be further business failures and job losses.

To survive the current crisis, the signatories are urging the Chancellor to invest in people through Apprenticeship Levy reform and incentivising economically inactive people into work; invest in places through licensing and planning reform, to speedily regenerate towns and cities nationwide; and invest in growth by freeing up investment and removing unnecessary red tape, reforming the out-dated business rates system and tackling debt to boost liquidity.

“These measures would unshackle the inflation and debt pressures that are holding back growth in our sector, warding off the spectre of further business failures and job losses,” the business leaders write.

“In doing so, it would allow us to rapidly deliver growth and investment, bringing many more people back into work and creating prosperity in communities right across the country. We urge the Chancellor not to miss this crucial opportunity to unleash the potential of hospitality to deliver the positive economic benefits across the nation.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, adds that the the sector is united in its message to the Chancellor: intervene in the Budget or lose businesses for good.

“No one wants to see that happen,” she says.

“It would mean the loss of jobs and livelihoods, ripping the heartbeat out of communities and robbing the economy of a powerful force for growth, employment and recovery.

“If the Chancellor puts his faith in hospitality, the sector will repay it many times over. We have seen it time and time again – hospitality drives economic growth and creates jobs. I hope the collective voice of hospitality is enough to convince the Chancellor that his actions on 15th​ March will, quite literally, be make or break for many venues across the country.”

To read the open letter, click here​. 

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