The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has called for further government support for the sector, following revelations that 72% of hospitality and pub businesses could become “unviable” and close in 2021.
The association said that an extension in VAT cuttings and the business rates holiday are “top priorities” for the hospitality sector if businesses are to survive beyond the winter.
It comes as research by UKHospitality, the BBPA and the British Institute of Innkeeping, showed support for the VAT and business rates, the removal of curfew restrictions and allowing households to mix in venues.
In the survey of over 400 different businesses, which operate more than 20,000 venues across the UK, over half reportedly said an extension to the government’s business rates holiday was “crucial to their survival”.
Four out of ten businesses also stated that the government needed to extend its VAT cut beyond March to help their businesses remain viable.
One in four felt that enhanced grants which would help businesses meet at least “some of their costs” whilst closed, was vital to their survival.
The research has also pointed to a cut in beer duty being, with reportedly over one-third of brewers stating it should be a government “priority” upon reopening.
In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “Slashing hospitality VAT and introducing a business rates holiday for the sector were critically important moves earlier in the crisis. They eased the financial burden on businesses and boosted trade at a time when the sector needed all the help it could get.
“But with 72% of hospitality and pub businesses fearing they could close in 2021, they still need more support now. Many businesses are only just clinging on, so the VAT cut and rates holiday must be extended as a priority. In the immediate term extending grant support is crucial.”
Adding that: “There is still much the government can, and should, do to give beleaguered businesses a fighting chance of survival. This includes getting as much of the sector open as possible at the start of December.“Rethinking the arbitrary 10pm curfew, which hamstrings venues, is a must.
“We also need to review the ban on household mixing inside venues in tier 2 regions, which is keeping friends and families apart.The restrictions being imposed on businesses before we went into the second lockdown were strangling trade and putting people out of business.
“If we exit this lockdown into similar, or worse, tighter, restrictions, it is going to be the end for thousands of businesses.”