Trade Associations

UKHospitality calls for ‘enhanced’ government support amid coronavirus outbreak

UKHospitality has called on the UK Government to “step up” its package of business support as the effect of coronavirus continues to spread.

It said the package of measures announced in the Budget on Wednesday were “helpful”, but do not go “nearly far enough” to support the vast majority of hospitality businesses who are in the eye of the storm.

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Highlighting the “existential risk” to hospitality businesses, from small independent pubs to well-known high street restaurant brands and global hotel chains, the body has outlined the need for “far stronger” measures from the Government.

This includes:

  • Immediately suspending business rates payments for all hospitality businesses for this year
  • Extending Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) coverage to hospitality businesses of all size
  • Short-terms subsidies of staff wages where trade falls markedly
  • Industry suppliers, including landlords, must be discouraged from pursuing businesses for arrears

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, said: “The hospitality sector is facing a unique short-term cashflow catastrophe as customers are advised to stay away. Government must support businesses of all sizes through this period so we can bounce back and continue to be at the heart of our communities.

Business rates must be suspended immediately. Cash in the bank to continue to pay staff is the absolute priority for businesses. We also need extraordinary measures from the Government to support our colleagues.”

She added: “There is likely to be a short-term fall in demand. Government should step in and cover wage costs so our staff can continue to look after themselves and so businesses will still be there to provide them with employment when the country gets back on its feet.”

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