New support spelled out to government
Hospitality sector calls for bold package of support to enable businesses to spearhead country’s economic revival in 2021.
Ahead of this year’s budget statement, UKHospitality (UKH) has written to the chancellor outlining the additional action needed to accelerate the revival of the UK’s hospitality sector, slash unemployment and bring the whole nation together.
In order to ensure the early, rapid return to growth for as many pub and bar businesses as possible, UKH has said that the government must extend the VAT cut to 5% for a further 12 months and enact a further business rates holiday for hospitality for 2021/22 to protect communities and repair businesses.
However, the trade body has stated that if the sector is to drive investment in communities and provide employment around the UK to its full potential, then further support will also be needed.
More measures are needed
UKH is urging the government to use the forthcoming budget to announce additional support to safeguard businesses and jobs, including:
- Implement a reformed Job Retention Bonus to allow continued investment in workforce
- Extend the repayment period for all government-backed loans to 10 years, with an extra year interest-free
- Defer tax payments further to December 2021 to allow full trading before debts to government fall due
- Extend CJRS until the end of June, allowing flexible furlough
- Assist the hospitality supply chain so it can support the sector’s recovery.
“The budget provides the government with a fantastic opportunity to deliver a bold package of support to tee hospitality businesses up for a year of rebuilding," says UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls. “Some businesses have inevitably and sadly gone to the wall, and we have lost around 650,000 jobs. Thankfully, many more businesses have managed to adapt and are still managing to cling on, keeping jobs safe and giving their staff, customers and communities hope that they will be able to reopen once the vaccine roll-out makes it safe to do so.
“Government financial support has been key. The two principal pillars of support - slashing hospitality VAT to 5% and providing a business rates holiday - have helped give employers the lifeline they needed to survive. We know from recent history that hospitality has the economic clout to be in the vanguard of economic recovery once the crisis has passed, but only if essential support is extended.
“A wide-ranging package of financial support will give hospitality businesses the best chance of not just surviving the remainder of the crisis, but leading the UK’s economic recovery in the years ahead. If we get what we need, hospitality can spearhead the economic recovery of the country, revive high streets and provide employment and investment in every single region.”