The open letter, created by UKHospitality, warns that the industry faces the potential of an additional £1bn business rates bill next April unless the Chancellor freezes rates and extends the current relief package at the Autumn Statement later this month.
Sector CEOs from more than 230 companies including Burger King, Travelodge, Marriott International, Fuller’s, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers have also signed the letter.
“The hospitality industry has taken a battering in recent years, yet pubs, bars and restaurants all across the nation continue to go above and beyond to provide memorable and outstanding experiences to everyone that comes through the door,” says Kerridge.
“As an industry this is what we love to do. The stark reality for many businesses, however, is that with rising costs and ongoing challenges time is running out and without further support from Government they will shut their doors.”
For the last year business rates have been frozen, with retail, hospitality and leisure businesses also benefitting from a 75% discount capped at £110,000 per firm.
However, as things currently stand business rates are set to increase next April under the Government’s ‘multiplier’, which is pegged to inflation in September as measured by the consumer price index.
This latest intervention from the industry comes after a survey conducted jointly by UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and Hospitality Ulster revealed that Government action on business rates is viewed as a top priority by 60% of businesses in the sector, up 16% from August.
More than half of hospitality businesses said they will reduce investment and cut staffing levels without business rates support, with 38% of venues currently failing to make a profit.
“It’s imperative that the Chancellor listens to our collective calls for support and takes clear action at the Autumn Statement to extend the current relief measures for a further year to protect the vital community assets that make up the UK’s vibrant hospitality sector,” says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.
“Hospitality is at the heart of our communities and it’s essential we do all we can to protect businesses in the sector and the value they bring, from driving economic growth to creating jobs.”
The letter also calls for longer-term structural reform of the apprenticeship levy, of VAT, and a broader overhaul of business rates.
Jeremy Hunt is scheduled to deliver his Autumn Statement on Wednesday 22 November.