Rishi Sunak has repeatedly vowed to do “whatever it takes” to support the hospitality industry, 24 hours after the PM warned the UK to avoid socialising in pubs and restaurants.
The chancellor announced a 12 month break in business rates for all, and announced an “unprecedented” package of £330bn in “guaranteed loans to get through this. Any business that needs access to cash to pay rent, suppliers, salaries or stock will be able to access loan or credit on attractive terms.
“Business need support with their cashflow and fixed costs,” he added. “There are concerns about the impact on pubs, clubs, theatres and other hospitality leisure venues.
“We have unveiled a very comprehensive and sizeable package of direct fiscal support for business through tax relief and cash grants for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses. We plan to go further with employment support. I think we are doing the right thing.”
PM Boris Johnson added people are “right to care about pubs, and they are right to care about restaurants, but that is why we are announcing the extraordinary package Rishi has announced today. That is the way we should be working to look after our economy.
“Avoid all unnecessary contact that could involve the transmission of disease, that means not going to places like pubs, restaurants and so forth, avoiding gatherings large and small, and people do understand that.”
Reacting to the news, Street Feast founder Jonathan Downey said the announcements appeared to be a “very good start. The £330bn loan scheme, I thought he was going to offer £300bn, so he’s given us a bit more there.
“A 12 month business rates holiday for every hospitality business, not just 30%, is fantastic and double what I was hoping for.”
But he said “everything else is a bit of a disappointment as there’s nothing for employees, and those loan schemes won’t come in time to save jobs. The £330bn could have come five days ago and everything would have been a lot calmer.”
He also said there was “nothing for people in the gig economy. A lot of people in hospitality are on zero hours. They are strong measures, and the start of more support, but it’s too late for 100s of thousands of jobs.”
UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said the Chancellor has “clearly been listening and these extra measures represent proper progress on last week’s Budget. The focus now has to be on making sure that hospitality businesses can draw down the support loans and other funds while they still have businesses to operate, such are the levels of urgency for most businesses.
“We will wait with great anticipation and hope that the detail on employment support measures live up to the hype but, if they are substantive, this could amount to a really helpful raft of support - this needs to come urgently as jobs are being lost every day. Cashflow is the key focus for companies endeavouring to survive. We only hope that this can be enough.”
But the move was slammed by Maurice Abboudi, executive director at K10 Restaurants.
He said the government response was “meaningless as we have zero income. What use is a rates holiday if there is no cash coming in? We will not borrow money to pay wages, suppliers or rent. That would be grossly irresponsible.
“Let’s see what ’employment support’ means and what comes next week. In the meantime the shutters come down after trade tomorrow. We will need every penny of cash to restart our business - that’s the time when we really need the cash.”
Sunak announces £330bn plan for business
Rishi Sunak has repeatedly vowed to do “whatever it takes” to support the hospitality industry, 24 hours after the PM warned the UK to avoid socialising in pubs and restaurants. The chancellor announced a 12 month break in business rates for all, and announced an “unprecedented” package of £330bn in “guaranteed loans to get through this. Any business that needs access to cash to pay rent, suppliers, salaries or stock will be able to access loan or credit on attractive terms.