The executive director of UKHospitality Cymru has called for additional financial support for Welsh Hospitality businesses after revealing that businesses are currently trading 25% below their counterparts across the border.
He said an “immediate” increase in financial support and the lifting of trading restrictions is “urgently needed” to prevent Welsh hospitality businesses closures and job losses.
Wales introduced restrictions on the hospitality industry after its case rate quadrupled from 523 on 14 December to 2,133 by the end of the month.
Limits of six in pubs and nightclub closures led to a “quieter than usual festive period”, in contrast to the freedoms experienced by those in England.
Chapman added that if financial support isn’t “swiftly forthcoming”, then “grave commercial impacts are inevitable”, that could “hugely damage” communities across Wales after what he called a “disastrous” festive season.
The Welsh government has said its emergency financial support package would be available from 10 January, with a spokesperson adding it would continue to monitor the situation to see if additional support funding was needed.
Chapman said: “Across the board, enforced sub-viable trading and the associated cautionary climate has fuelled a festive flop in our pubs, restaurants, hotels and wider hospitality. A disastrous Christmas and New Year under the latest restrictions has left many facing a perilous financial position with grants falling way short of what is needed.
“In particular, retaining staff on current Government supports is unsustainable. Wales’ nightclubs are closed but are expected to keep a full staff roster, for maybe as long as two months, with a grant that doesn’t even amount to a busy night’s takings.”
He added: “Their English counterparts are reporting falling footfall and heavy losses even without the stringent additional set of restrictions being imposed in Wales – revenue is at least 25% lower than across the border at present.”