Business Group Calls For £35bn Support Package Avoid “Irreversible Decline”

A leading business group has urged the Chancellor to implement a major £35bn set of measures to protect 500,000 jobs and save Britain’s ailing pubs, restaurants and local high streets from financial ‘oblivion’ following successive lockdowns and a pre-existing decline in footfall. The economic collapse in Britain’s hospitality sector, responsible for over three million jobs, accounts for approximately one-third of the overall slump in GDP.

The Independent Business Network (IBN) has called for a swathe of measures to support the hospitality sector rebuild as well as level the playing field between high-street retail and online, including halving the amount hospitality venues pay in alcohol duty and extending the suspension of business rates for a further 12 months. It is also calling for the existing reduced VAT rate of five per cent for the hospitality sector to be maintained while extending it to include sales on alcohol.

The measuresinclude:

  • Provide hospitality businesses with a COVID-investment rebate – £690m
  • Extend hospitality’s reduced VAT rates for remainder of 2021 – £6.3bn
  • Include alcohol in hospitality’s reduced VAT rates – £750m
  • Cut in half Britain’s alcohol taxes – £1.8bn
  • Make hospitality investments 100 per cent First Year Allowance (FYA) – £1.15bn
  • Continue the suspension of business rates 2020/2021 – £15bn
  • Cut VAT rate payable by physical retailers to 14 per cent – £7.6bn.
  • Freeze town centre parking fees – £872m
  • Reintroduce ‘eat-out-to-help-out’ and complement it with a ‘pro-hospitality’ advertising push – £1.08bn

Chairman John Longworth said: “The comprehensive £35bn package of measures we have set out are vital to saving our pubs, restaurants and high streets from financial ruin.

We urge the government to adopt them and save up to 500,000 jobs and countless family-run businesses from destitution. After all, the parlous state our hospitality industry is facing is a symptom of the government’s own actions.”