Hospitality Sector Calls for enhanced Government Support as Business Faces Existential Threat

UKHospitality has called on Government to step up its package of business support as the effect of coronavirus continues to spread. The package of measures announced in the Budget on Wednesday were helpful but do not go nearly far enough to support the vast majority of hospitality businesses who are in the eye of the storm.

Highlighting the existential risk to hospitality businesses, from small independent pubs to well-known high street restaurant brands and global hotel chain, the body has outlined the need for far stronger measures from the Government.

This includes:

· Immediately suspending business rates payments for all hospitality businesses for this year

· Extending Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) coverage to hospitality businesses of all size

· Short-terms subsidies of staff wages where trade falls markedly

· Industry suppliers, including landlords, must be discouraged from pursuing businesses for arrears

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, commented: “The hospitality sector is facing a unique short-term cashflow catastrophe as customers are advised to stay away. Government must support businesses of all sizes through this period so we can bounce back and continue to be at the heart of our communities.

“Business rates must be suspended immediately. Cash in the bank to continue to pay staff is the absolute priority for businesses. We also need extraordinary measures from Government to support our colleagues. There is likely to be a short-term fall in demand. Government should step in and cover wage costs so our staff can continue to look after themselves and so businesses will still be there to provide them with employment when the country gets back on its feet.”