Government

Hospitality leaders ask for PM’s help to avoid ‘bleakest of winters’

Over 100 hospitality businesses have written directly to prime minister Boris Johnson calling on him to personally do more to support the sector before the ‘‘bleakest of winters’’.

Led by trade organisations, including UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association, the letter states that there will be more job losses and business closures without additional support.

Signatories, including Burger King CEO Alasdair Murdoch and Pizza Express managing director Zoe Bowley, emphasised that the latest instructions, including the 10pm curfew, have made ‘‘the fight to survive even harder’’.

In the letter, the signatories said: ‘‘Across the country, the 10pm curfew has removed key trading hours for all of us vital to our survival, removing whole shifts from food-led businesses. It has created pinch points for public transport and large groups congregating elsewhere in a manner likely to increase COVID-related health risks.

‘‘The sector has invested tens of millions of pounds in protective equipment for staff, perspex shields, enhanced cleaning regimes as well as new technology solutions to create entirely safe Covid-secure environments, yet trade is already being decimated as more consumers stay away whilst costs continue to rise.’’

They added: ‘‘In the immediate term, the employer contributions need to be removed for the hospitality sector and a new package of grant funding for businesses that face restrictions brought forward. 

“To plan for a future beyond the winter, the VAT cut and business rates holiday must also be extended through 2021 and beer duty cut.’’

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