New data shows hospitality in ‘Red Wall’ constituencies hit hardest by pandemic with majority of British public favouring more support for sector
UKHospitality is urging the Chancellor to heed political and public appetites for a popular package of support for hospitality businesses and communities devastated by the COVID crisis.
A wide-ranging package of financial support would be backed by the majority of Britons, according to new data, and would provide a much-needed boost in Red Wall constituencies, where hospitality venue closures have been the highest in the country.
Data released by analysts CGA shows that the number of licensed venues in the UK fell from 123,200 in December 2015 to 107,775 in January 2021, with 7,659 of those closures occurring in 2020.
Red Wall constituencies experienced, proportionately, the highest rate of closures, with 17.2% of venues closing since 2015, 9.3% since December 2019.
Nationally, the fall was 12.5% between December 2015 and January 2021 with a 6.6% decrease between December 2019 and January 2021.
Additionally, national polling data shows that a majority of people in the UK (55%) believe that the hospitality sector should receive more financial support from the Government throughout 2021.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “A bold and decisive package of support for the hospitality sector is a must at tomorrow’s Budget. It would be a rational step to bolster businesses that have struggled nationally, but most acutely in the newly Conservative constituencies of the so called “Red Wall”. It would be a pragmatic step publicly as well as politically, as over half of the UK public agrees that our sector needs more support over the course of 2021.
“The figures give a clear indication of the kind of challenge that hospitality has faced over the past five years. The steady increase in costs has seen too many businesses become unsustainable and the result has been closures across the UK.
“The speed with which closures have increased over the past year is horrifying. Fifty per cent of closures have occurred since the end of 2019. That is nearly 8,000 businesses that have permanently closed their doors. We keep saying that our sector has been hit the hardest by this pandemic, and these figures bear that out.
“That closures have been most acutely felt in Red Wall constituencies should give the Government pause for thought. These areas have lost vital social and economic hubs, yet are the very places where Government is looking to ‘level up’. It is now critical that the Government provides a substantial package of support at tomorrow’s Budget to make sure that more of these businesses are not lost.
“The UK public agrees with us. Polling shows that over half of people think we should have more support this year. Unleashing a new package of support would be a popular with the public, who are eager to enjoy our venues after a torrid year, not least among hard-won Red Wall constituencies.
“This is an open goal for the Government and a rare gift that does not come along often. The Chancellor can deliver a policy that not only gives businesses the support they need, but would also be supported by his backbenches and a British public that understands exactly what must be done to help the UK’s hospitality sector.”