Hospitality leaders call on government to help boost London footfall

Business leaders in the hospitality sector operating in London are calling on the government to help boost footfall in the capital.

Over 90 hospitality business owners, experts and representatives signed a letter requesting that Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan deliver a coordinated campaign to support the industry during the economic downturn.

Among the signatories included were Burger King CEO Alasdair Murdoch, Wasabi CEO Henry Bits and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.

Despite mentioning the financial relief provided by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, the letter recognised the ‘‘growing disparity’’ between central London and the rest of the country.

The letter states that London businesses have been decimated due to lack of footfall from shoppers and workers, while other hospitality businesses around the UK are taking above 70% of their pre-lockdown revenue.

The letter said: ‘‘Pre-Covid, half a million workers came to central London every day but many businesses have no immediate plans for staff to return to offices; only around 15% of them expect the majority of staff to return by the end of September. 

‘‘This has existential risks for businesses in hospitality and its supply chain, as well as retail, leisure and entertainment, which combined employ around 20% of Londoners. 

It added: “Action to build public trust to levels that will trigger a return of safe travel into central London has become a social and economic emergency.

‘‘We are keen to work collaboratively with the Government and City Hall. Only a coordinated approach that puts politics to one side and focuses on building confidence will deliver the strong and desperately needed message that London is open for Londoners, commuters and leisure visitors.’’

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