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UKH: ‘Indication that business rates holiday will be extended would go a long way’

Published:  15 June, 2021

UK Hospitality (UKH) has urged the government to waste no time in providing details of how it will safeguard the future of the hospitality sector following the Prime Minister’s confirmation that Covid restrictions will remain for another four weeks.

The trade body called for “clear, comprehensive measures” to ensure an end to the lockdown, with a particular need to counter the impact of the resumption of business rates payments in July.

Referring to the decision to delay lifting restrictions as “hugely disappointing”, CEO Kate Nicholls said: “The government has judged the evidence and acted as it sees fit. It does, however, jeopardise the return on investment that the government has afforded hospitality and it’s crucial that further support is announced to push us over the line." 

Moreover, Nicholls reiterated how hospitality businesses face incredible levels of debt and will now face a huge cost hike, with business rates payments set to recommence and rent accruals due at the end of the month. 

“An swift indication that the business rates holiday will be extended would go a long way to bringing succour to a battered sector — paying any amount of tax while still unable to trade viably would save businesses and, in turn, tax receipts in longer term,” said Nicholls.

The hospitality sector has already lost more than £87bn in sales in the pandemic leaving businesses deeply in debt and at risk of suffering “economic long Covid” without further support.

“Simply put, if the supports provided by the Chancellor are not sustained and adjusted, businesses will fail and getting this far will count for nought,” added Nicholls.

“A final lifting of restrictions is the only way to save the sector from disaster and enable it to play its part in a national economic recovery, to support the Government’s Jobs Plan, delivering jobs, growth and investment at pace and across all the regions."

Ahead of the PM’s announcement yesterday, UKH warned that a one-month delay to Covid restrictions lifting would cost the hospitality sector around £3bn in sales and put at risk 300,000 jobs as well as have a knock-on impact on bookings throughout the summer and into the autumn.