UKHospitality (UKH) has called for action after figures published today (22 January) by CGA revealed a net decline of nearly 6,000 licensed premises in the UK.
The trade association has issued a warning that businesses in the hospitality sector must receive further financial support in order to survive the third national lockdown and any further Covid-19 restrictions.
Earlier this week, UKH called for the government to use the forthcoming Budget to announce additional financial support for businesses, including deferring tax payments to December 2021 and assisting the hospitality sector with supply chain disruptions.
Kate Nicholls, UKH’s chief executive, said: “The loss of 6,000 premises is a dreadful blow to this country’s hospitality sector, but it is going to be the tip of the iceberg if we continue on our current course.
“The entire sector continues to be hit hard, but restaurants have arguably been hit hardest of all. Not surprisingly, many of the worst off are independent businesses teetering on the verge of collapse due, in large part, to the issue of rent debt.”
She added: “This is a stark reminder of the importance of having an exit strategy and ongoing support for businesses. Sustaining businesses, keeping them alive and keeping jobs protected is vitally important and is going to be key to recovery once we emerge from this.
“If we have the right support in place now, it will make the job of recovery much more achievable once we are in a position to reopen again.”