A group of leading hoteliers and restaurateurs fed up with their industry being discriminated against, with disproportionate business rates, came together at Nailcote Hall Hotel, Coventry. A meeting took place with CEO of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls and Midlands MP, Saqib Bhatti, to discuss the alarming inequalities in the way business rates are charged in the UK and how they will take immediate action.
Amongst those in attendance of the meeting were, owner of Simpsons and The Cross at Kenilworth, Andreas Antona, owner of Nuthurst Grange, Paul Hopwood, Managing Director of Eden Hotel Collection, Mark Chambers, Hotel Group Operations Manager of Eden Hotel Collection, Jayne O’Malley Commercial Director of Classic British Hotels, Phillip Allsopp and from Lovely Pubs, Operations Manager Mark Lee, and Director Paul Hales.
The meeting was held in response to the recent government review of business rates; although welcomed by many, it didn’t go far enough to address the concerns of the hospitality industry.
In the current climate there are a combination of factors which are causing overwhelming challenges for businesses in hospitality, leading to speculation over mass business closures. The rise in employer’s National Insurance, massive increase in energy bills, rising cost of fuel, banks demanding repayment of covid loans, out of control inflation, wage increase demands and staffing shortages; are all factors adversely affecting businesses in hospitality. In addition to these challenges, businesses have the added weight of disproportionate business rates.
Three-year reviews, although encouraging, are yet to address the inequity and in waiting for the next review to take place, it may be too late for many. Momentum in support for the cause is growing, with those affected now joining forces to urge the government to do more to help address the inequalities for hospitality businesses.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality explained,
“Despite representing only 5% of the UK’s GDP, the hospitality industry pays over 15% of the total revenues raised by business rates, with other businesses paying little or nothing at all. We are fighting for a greater discount. Our industry is already facing so many challenges with all the other pressures on our sector, I think that gives us a special case to ask for a reduction.”
Rick Cressman, owner of Nailcote Hall and organiser of the recent meeting, said,
“Business rates are an unfair and discriminatory burden on the hospitality sector, a sector already badly damaged by the pandemic. Because of this our businesses are unable to re-invest at the levels we need to, making it impossible for the sector to recover effectively.”
Andreas Antona, owner of Simpsons and The Cross at Kenilworth said:
“The whole industry needs to support Kate Nicholls in her campaign to find a fairer system to calculate business rates for all businesses and to move on from the current antiquated system which penalises hospitality and retail for having a high street presence.”
Commercial Director of Classic British Hotels, Phillip Allsopp added,
“The government’s review of an Online Sales Tax (OST) and revenue raised must be used to help UK Hospitality.”
A four-point action plan has been formulated for hospitality businesses to assist in pushing for change, this is as follows:
• Support UK Hospitality in its efforts to pressure the government into a fairer deal for hospitality
• Encourage other hospitality businesses to get involved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
• Lobby your local MPs for a fairer deal for hospitality
• Share your stories on social media to gain wider understanding in the business community and general public