Retail, leisure and hospitality businesses have warned the government that current coronavirus financial aid will not be enough to support the industries if they are to remain closed for several more months.
The demands were published after it was reported over the weekend that pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and beauticians and non-essential retailers could be waiting at least two months before some restrictions are lifted.
Hospitality and non-essential retail could open from late April, although pubs and restaurants may only be allowed to serve food and drinks outside.
Indoor trading at pubs and restaurants could resume from mid-May, along with hairdressers and beauticians being allowed to reopen.This could be followed by domestic tourism returning in June.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of industry body UK Hospitality, said that an extension of existing financial support such as furlough and business rates holidays, will not go far enough.
“We will need to see the full statement today but if pubs and restaurants are not opening until May, hotels June and night time entertainment even later, then the Chancellor needs urgently to set out additional support – extension of existing measures won’t be enough to save businesses for that long,” she said.
Ralph Findlay, chief executive of pub chain Marston’s, said it was “inevitable” that more pubs will run out of cash before they are able to reopen.
“There has been government support for business but as a sector we have had no income for nine months – we’re still incurring costs,” he told the BBC.
“So each week as more money is being spent, there is only so long that can go on for… I do think it is really important for us to get back to normal.”
Meanwhile, the British Beauty Council has called on the government to provide a £500m emergency fund and a 75 per cent VAT cut for the industry, warning that without extra help one in five salons will close.
Millie Kendall, chief executive of the British Beauty Council, said: “Our industry cannot be delayed any longer than is strictly necessary, or thousands of businesses will be left extremely vulnerable. We appeal to the Prime Minister today to give us hope we will soon be back to business as usual.”
The Nighttime Industries Association has warned of the impact of failing to give a timeline on reopening nightclubs could have on “socially starved” young people.
“I would like to point out also, that while this is important to the industry and the workforce that underpin this amazing sector, do not underestimate the importance of this communication to the public, particularly our youth culture who are frustrated and socially starved,” chief executive Michael Kill said.
“Without this, we will see an escalation of illegal events and parties born from the lack of consideration for the importance of social engagement as part of their general well being.”