Statistics published by the Office for National Statistics this morning show the UK economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020 with the output of the accommodation and food services sector now 51.8% lower than last year.
Additional analysis from the Q4 UKHospitality Quarterly Tracker, produced by CGA, showed a 54% drop in sales across hospitality in 2020, equivalent to a drop of £71.8bn, making hospitality responsible for one-third of the UK economy’s annual £215bn contraction.
The ONS stats also show that hospitality acted as a brake on the UK’s growth rate for Q4, dragging quarterly growth down 0.95% to 1% as sector sales fell by a third.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This morning’s figures make for bleak reading, but also serve to drive home the point about the importance of hospitality as an economic force. When hospitality struggles, the entire UK economy struggles.
“The huge losses we have suffered this year account for one-third of the slump for the whole economy last year. This really hammers home the importance of, and need for, a healthy hospitality sector for the entire country.
“If we are capable of having such a hugely detrimental impact, we are just as capable of a hugely beneficial one, though. If our businesses are given the support they need to survive the remaining months of the crisis and put in a position to thrive again, they can drive the recovery of the nation.
“Hospitality must be prioritised for support and put at the heart of the Government’s plans for reopening the country. If we are given a chance to do what we do best, we can kick-start the economy and provide investment and jobs in every region of the UK.
“If the Government gives us an extension of the VAT cut and the business rates holiday at next month’s Budget, then we will be in a much better position to help turn things around. The statistics published this morning show that there is really no other option for the Government than to back us totally.”