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UKH pushes for further support

Published:  10 May, 2021

UK Hospitality (UKH) has called on the government to provide further support for the sector by improving access to capital and to stick to the roadmap of lifting all restrictions from 21 June. 

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the trade body warns that the Treasury must stand ready to deliver extra support measures if there is any slippage in the roadmap.

Moreover, it calls on Sunak to encourage the full lifting of restrictions beyond 21 June to ensure that hospitality can return to full strength, along with an early announcement for support should this not be possible.

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, there were “real concerns” in the sector about their rollout, with many operators reporting that banks are denying them access to critical funding, said UKH. 

As a potential solution to this challenge, UKH proposes working with the Treasury to develop a more targeted loan scheme that recognises the particular difficulties that the hospitality sector faces.

“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,” said CEO Kate Nicholls. 

“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,” she said.

The push for further support follows the latest hospitality sales tracker for the first quarter of 2021 showing that the last year has seen a two-thirds loss of trade for the sector – equating to a fall in revenue of £80bn

Moreover, data from CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker has shown the crucial bank holiday weekend was a washout for many outlets.