The Government must act to lower costs for hospitality businesses to help avoid the threat of future restaurant closures, says UKHospitality.
The trade body has called on the Government to support the restaurant sector following a report by accountancy firm Moore Stephens highlighting venue closures. According to the report, 1,219 venues closed in 2017/18, up from 985 one year earlier.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “An increase in the number of restaurant insolvencies is obviously bad news for hospitality. It is also coming at a difficult time for businesses generally given the political instability around the country.
“The report by Moore Stephens rightly identifies increasing costs as a significant issue for restaurants, with wage increases and the apprenticeship levy singled-out as burdens for employers. Property costs are also a serious issue for hospitality businesses including restaurants, and UKHospitality has repeatedly called for a complete revamp of business rates to help high street businesses.
“With Brexit continuing to provide only instability and costs likely to increase as a result of the withdrawal, we need the Government to act positively to support the sector. Businesses cannot continue to pass costs onto customers, particularly with consumer confidence so low. Venue closures do not help anyone, they do not help customers and they certainly don’t help people trying to earn a living in the sector.
“Lowering costs for restaurants that are valuable employers and social hubs in their communities will help prevent many of them going out of business.”