The bosses of 155 hospitality businesses have signed an open letter urging the Chancellor to take immediate action at the Budget to ‘unshackle’ the sector and ‘unleash the potential’ of hospitality.
The letter was signed by the entire spectrum of hospitality in the UK, with signatories ranging from leading brands to single-site operators of local pubs and leisure parks.
It was co-ordinated by trade body UKHospitality, representing over 100,000 venues in a sector that employs millions of people, with the potential to significantly increase its employment with the right measures.
It is a clear demonstration that the sector is behind UKHospitality’s asks of the Chancellor at the Budget to tackle ongoing cost pressures, particularly around energy, to prevent price increases and actually help drive down inflation.
The letter warns that ongoing inflation and debt pressures are holding the sector back from delivering economic growth and that, without action, there could be further business failures and job losses.
To survive the current crisis, without being able to access the additional energy support available for some sectors in April, and return to delivering growth, the signatories are urging the Chancellor to:
• Invest in our people through Apprenticeship Levy reform and incentivising economically inactive people into work.
• Invest in our places through licensing and planning reform, to speedily regenerate towns and cities nationwide.
• Invest in growth by freeing up investment and removing unnecessary red tape, reforming the out-dated business rates system and tackling debt to boost liquidity.
In the letter, the business leaders write:
“These measures would unshackle the inflation and debt pressures that are holding back growth in our sector, warding off the spectre of further business failures and job losses.
“In doing so, it would allow us to rapidly deliver growth and investment, bringing many more people back into work and creating prosperity in communities right across the country.
“We urge the Chancellor not to miss this crucial opportunity to unleash the potential of hospitality to deliver the positive economic benefits across the nation.”
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“From some of the largest hospitality businesses in the UK, to local community pubs and hotels, the sector is united in its message to the Chancellor: intervene in the Budget or lose businesses for good.
“No one wants to see that happen. It would mean the loss of jobs and livelihoods, ripping the heartbeat out of communities and robbing the economy of a powerful force for growth, employment and recovery.
“If the Chancellor puts his faith in hospitality, the sector will repay it many times over. We have seen it time and time again – hospitality drives economic growth and creates jobs.
“I hope the collective voice of hospitality is enough to convince the Chancellor that his actions on 15th March will, quite literally, be make or break for many venues across the country.”