A major package of financial support must be revealed in the Chancellor’s Budget if many hospitality businesses are to survive through the Government’s reopening plan, sector trade bodies have said.
Though the Prime Minister said the reopening schedule will be driven by data, Government has continually overlooked the data proving hospitality spaces pose a relatively low risk for transmitting the virus, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls has said.
Nicholls warned that the delay in reopening will make the job of survival all the more difficult for the significant number of businesses “just clinging on to existence,” and explained that just 40% of hospitality businesses have outdoor space, which in many cases “is little more than a table and a couple of chairs.
“The job for the Government now is to make sure that our sector survives this further period of closure intact,” she said. “The Chancellor has just nine days to save thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs that simply will not be there without a substantial package of compensation.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association revealed that the “cautious” reopening strategy will see 60% of pubs – around 29,000 businesses – remain closed because of the outside-only stipulation on 12 April, and operating at just 17% capacity will cost pubs around £1.5b.
“The Government must plug that £1.5b hole for our sector with vital support in the Budget next week if thousands of pubs are to now survive,” she said. “The Prime Minister said he will not pull the rug out and do whatever it takes. We will hold both him and the Chancellor to this.
“Our sector will need more grant support until pubs can fully reopen, as well as furlough extended to save jobs for pubs not able to open in April. Even when they open in May, pubs will need help on their long road to recovery through an extension of the VAT cut and business rates relief – as well as a beer duty cut.
“The recovery will take much longer than expected and we will need this support for 12-24 months.”
And the late-night sector is still in need of further reopening clarity, added Micheal Kill, CEO of the NTIA. “We are pleased to hear within the Prime Minister’s statement the inclusion of a timeline for night-time economy businesses, in particular some of the hardest hit businesses, many of which have been closed since March 2020, like nightclubs, bars and casinos,” he said.
“Despite this, our evidence suggests that 85% of those who work in the night-time economy are considering leaving the sector. The sector urgently needs additional clarity on reopening and critical financial support from the Chancellor if we are to avoid economic and social damage that will last a generation.”
Trade bodies call for ‘critical financial support’ in Budget
A major package of financial support must be revealed in the Chancellor’s Budget if many hospitality businesses are to survive through the Government’s reopening plan, sector trade bodies have said. UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls has said the Chancellor ”has just nine days to save thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs”, whilst the BBPA and NTIA CEOs, Emma McClarkin and Micheal Kill, have called for long-term support and additional clarity on reopening.