One in ten hospitality businesses will not survive without additional support through the recovery period, CGA’s Business Leaders’ Survey 2021 has found.

Though business confidence is on the up, doubling from 27% in November 2020 to 54% this month, almost two thirds (63%) of businesses said they will be unable to return to profit this year without sufficient support from the Chancellor in next week’s Budget (3 March).

Should Sunak deliver on necessary extensions – of the business rates holiday, VAT cut and furlough scheme – and aid the sector’s recovery, 81% of leaders said hospitality will be able to make a positive contribution to the bounce back of the UK economy, and 87% believe they’re guidelines have been, and will be, effective in ensuring safety whilst operating.

There is also evidence that many businesses may be seeking to grow their portfolios, with 59% claiming they anticipate opening new sites in 2021, almost double the number of operators anticipating they will keep some sites closed indefinitely (31%).

“This survey shows business leaders will be walking a tightrope in 2021,” said Phil Tate, chief executive at CGA. “Nearly 12 months on from hospitality’s first compulsory closure, many thousands of venues and jobs have now been lost for good. But it’s also encouraging to see that many businesses are optimistic about long-term prospects, and confident enough to be thinking about opening rather than closing sites.

“It’s clear that a year of significant churn lies ahead, and as in all periods of crisis there will be winners as well as losers.”