Government Support Warms the Hearts of Bristol Hoteliers

Bristol Hoteliers have welcomed what industry leaders have described as an ‘unprecedented intervention’ by the Government to help them cope with soaring energy costs.

The Government has revealed plans to introduce a cap on businesses’ energy bills this winter, which could see monthly bills drop by more than 40% for six months.

The Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) has welcomed the move but says it remains cautiously optimistic about the future.

BHA Chair Raphael Herzog said: “This is very welcome news ahead of this winter and will be a huge help to our businesses.

“As an example, some hotels have seen their projected bill from October going from £10,000 in gas to potentially £100,000; therefore the government support is welcomed.

“We are grateful, but six months is a fairly short time in business and we need assurances that more will be done to ensure our commercial viability in the longer term.”

On September 8, new Prime Minister Liz Truss first announced she intended to introduce a six month support package for businesses.

She said: “After those six months, we will provide further support to vulnerable sectors such as hospitality, including our local pubs.”

Mr Herzog said: “We welcome the Prime Minister recognising the particular difficulties that the hospitality industry has faced and wait with interest to see what longer-term support might emerge.”

The Government has said it intends to review the new six-month support package at the three-month point, to ensure those most in need get support which, the Prime Minister claims, will give business more ‘certainty’.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “This intervention is unprecedented and it is extremely welcome that government has listened to hospitality businesses facing an uncertain winter.”

Mr Herzog said the energy bill relief scheme, announced today (21 Sept) will warm the hearts of many hoteliers for the short term.

But a longer term strategy remains essential to help them come through the current ‘cost of living’ crisis which has added ‘insult to injury’ in the aftermath of the effects of Brexit and the pandemic.

Mr Herzog said: “We would obviously like to see the return of a reduced rate of VAT for the hospitality sector which was also a huge help. However, the priority at present was in regards to setting up a cap on energy price increases.”

Occupancy rates for Bristol hotels for August 2022 were generally running a little lower than the same month in 2021, with the exception of hotels which serve the airport, as people took advantage of the end of pandemic restrictions to take holidays abroad.

Mr Herzog said: “We would like to see more government support to promote staycations to help the UK hospitality industry which would also help us as we try to recover from an extremely difficult past few years.

“But we remain positive that we CAN recover and are cautiously optimistic about a brighter future.”

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme, unveiled today (21 Sept) is in addition to the Energy Price Guarantee for households.