Hospitality bosses have again issued an urgent call for the government to extend business rates and VAT support in the March budget as the sector remains closed due to coronavirus restrictions.
In a letter to the chancellor, industry body UK Hospitality asked him to extend the VAT cut to five per cent for a further 12 months to stimulate economic activity.
The letter also urged Rishi Sunak to announce a further business rates holiday for hospitality firms for the 2021/22 financial year.
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls called on Sunak to announce additional support for the sector, which has been brought to its knees by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Around 650,000 hospitality jobs have been lost since the beginning of the pandemic in the UK in March, with household names such as Pizza Express, Burger King and Wagamama’s owner the Restaurant Group announcing site closures.
Nicholls said government should implement a reformed Job Retention Bonus and extend the repayment period for all Government-backed loans to ten years with an extra year interest-free.
In the letter she urged the chancellor to defer tax payments further to December 2021, to allow a period of full trading before debts to the government are due, and to extend the furlough scheme to the end of June.
Nicholls said: “The budget provides the government with a fantastic opportunity to deliver a bold package of support to tee hospitality businesses up for a year of rebuilding.”
She added:“We know from recent history that hospitality has the economic clout to be in the vanguard of economic recovery once the crisis has passed, but only if essential support is extended.
“A wide-ranging package of financial support will give hospitality businesses the best chance of not just surviving the remainder of the crisis, but leading the UK’s economic recovery in the years ahead.
“If we get what we need, hospitality can spearhead the economic recovery of the country, revive high streets and provide employment and investment in every single region.”