UKHospitality is calling on chancellor Rishi Sunak for further sector support by improving access to capital for businesses and sticking to the government’s roadmap of lifting restrictions after 21 June 2021.
In a letter to the chancellor, UKHospitality said that the hospitality sector would need additional support measures if there was any slip in the current timetable.
The letter also highlights ongoing issues that sector businesses are experiencing when it comes to access to capital.
While government loan schemes have been received positively, UKH argued that there are “real concerns” in the sector about their rollout, with many operators reporting that banks are denying them access to critical funding.
Hospitality business have lost two-thirds of trade in the 12 months to April, equating to a fall of £80b.
Furthermore, the crucial Bank Holiday weekend was a washout for many operators, and drinks sales on Sunday (2 May) were down by 35% on the same Sunday in 2019. Worst hit of all was Bank Holiday Monday (3 May), when they dipped 66%. Wales bore the brunt of the weather, and takings were 85% down as a result.
Pubs, where drinks sales were down by 33% across the week, continue to outperform restaurants (down 54%) and bars (down 59%), thanks to their greater availability of outdoor trading space.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The hospitality sector stands ready to play its part in helping to power the recovery, create jobs and reinvigorate local communities, but that will only be possible if our businesses return to viability at the earliest opportunity.
“Firstly, we need the government to deliver on its commitment to dropping Covid restrictions and measures on 21 June. But even then, many companies will be facing huge rent debts and other business costs, so access to capital through loans is critical to ensure they can get back on their feet again as soon as possible.
“The revitalisation of hospitality will yield a substantial return on investment – in terms of economic growth, employment, levelling up, high street regeneration and government revenues. Brighter days are ahead but we urge the Chancellor to ensure that his welcome and substantial support for the sector doesn’t go to waste.”