With concerns that many in the industry will not survive the “bleakest of winters” that awaits, a group of businesses led by trade bodies British Beer & Pub Association, UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping have warned that thousands of jobs will be lost if more is not done.
Over 100 hospitality businesses in the UK, including pub businesses, restaurant chains and hotel , have written directly to the Prime Minister warning that his government must do more to help them through the coming winter.
In the letter, led by trade associations the BBPA, UKHospitality and the BII, the group says that without additional and urgent support many businesses will not “survive this bleakest of winters” and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost. The letter also states that even prior to the latest Covid-19 restrictions, half of all hospitality businesses did not believe they would survive beyond the middle of next year, adding that the latest restrictions – including the 10pm curfew – “have made this fight to survive even harder.” The group wants the government to commit to review the appropriateness of the latest restrictions at least every three weeks, and to remove them if they are found to not be impacting the spread of the virus.
The letter also says that if hospitality businesses are to survive and “lead the economic and employment recovery”, they need more Government support, adding that the Chancellor’s winter support package “does not go nearly far enough for our imperilled sector.” It continues, “without an immediate review of the support on offer to pubs, restaurants and wider hospitality businesses, many will be lost for years to come.”
The plea by the hospitality industry calls on the Prime Minister to remove employer contributions for the hospitality sector to the Job Support Scheme and provide a package of grant funding for those businesses that face restrictions being brought forward. To plan and rebuild beyond the winter, it also says “the VAT cut and business rates holiday must also be extended through 2021 and beer duty cut.”
Across the retail landscape, responses from Bacta and the BGC echoed the hospitality sector’s letter, with CEO of Bacta John White adding that “what we really need right now is for the Chancellor to reduce VAT to 5 percent for seaside arcades and to cut MGD to 5 percent to support high streets and pubs”. The BGC were more concerned about the 10pm curfew, stating that it presents a huge challenge “to an industry which does between 50 and 70 percent of its trade after 10pm”.
Indeed, as winter approaches, Britain’s retail businesses all agree on one thing: they’ll need a special support deal if they are to survive until spring 2021.