The UK’s most senior hospitality chiefs are calling for Jeremy Hunt to freeze taxes for pubs and restaurants, ahead of the Autumn Statement.

More than 200 industry leaders have signed a letter to the Chancellor warning that businesses will be forced to permanently close if the Government does not call off a planned rise in business rates next year.

Signatories include the bosses of Burger King, Fuller’s, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers. 

Businesses were given up to 75% rate relief in 2022 to help with inflation, which is set to expire next April,

Meanwhile, business rates are expected to go up in line with September’s rate of inflation next year.

It comes after research showed more than half of hospitality businesses will reduce investment and cut staffing levels without business rates support. 

The survey by UKHospitality, British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), and Hospitality Ulster, showed that government action on business rates was viewed as a top priority by 60% of respondents, up 16% from August.

The figures demonstrate the importance of the Chancellor extending hospitality sector relief and freezing the multiplier at the Autumn Statement, with 38% of hospitality venues failing to make a profit, according to the trade bodies.

Chef, publican and broadcaster Tom Kerridge said: “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. 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. That’s why I fully support the calls being made by UKHospitality to the Chancellor in this letter.”

Chef and restaurateur Tom Aikens said: “It is absolutely essential that any increase in business rates is reconsidered, which is why I have backed this letter calling for the Chancellor to support hospitality by freezing business rates, among other measures. The industry has suffered immeasurable damage over recent years, and the planned tax hike next April must be taken off the table in order to support growth and investment in the hospitality sector.”   

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “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. 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.”