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Trade bodies welcome Chancellor’s latest support package

Published:  23 October, 2020

Trade bodies across the industry have welcomed the Chancellor’s latest support package for businesses announced yesterday afternoon. 

UK Hospitality (UKH) referred to the package as “hugely generous”, a sentiment echoed by the Food & Drink Federation (FDF), which said the “significantly more generous” announcement would be “greatly welcomed” by manufacturers supplying the hospitality industry. 

The changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) would help to safeguard “hundreds of thousands of jobs”, said Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKH. 

And the grant support, she added, would provide a “crucial lifeline” for businesses struggling with low footfall and ongoing costs.

“It is excellent that the grant has been backdated to when the restrictions began to bite. This gives businesses a much-enhanced chance of being able to overcome the challenges and survive into 2021, so they can begin to recover next year and play a vital role in helping boost the economy,” she said.

Tim Rycroft, chief operating officer at FDF, added: “An extension of the JSS for those businesses that remain open will help ensure the survival of many food and drink businesses which supply the out-of-home and food service sectors. We await to see further details about which businesses in high-alert level areas will be able to apply for the new grant scheme.”

Moreover, Camra said that the new financial support packages would also be “warmly welcomed” by the beer and pubs sector, highlighting the plight of pubs in areas under Tier 2 restrictions which felt like they had “the worst of all worlds, with additional restrictions reducing trade further but without receiving additional support”. 

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) also welcomed the announcement but reiterated that British breweries are “part of the fabric of hospitality and must be included in government support measures”.

"Today’s extension of the JSS scheme will help retain jobs in pubs and bars over this incredibly difficult winter period. Separately, the Chancellor’s announcement that government will offer grants for hospitality businesses struggling under Tier 2 restrictions is very welcome,” said CEO James Calder.

But the fact that small breweries were not automatically eligible was “a hammer blow”, he added. 

“Small breweries are part of the fabric of hospitality and government should make all breweries automatically eligible for the £2,100 grants and JSS support as the rest of hospitality. 

“Breweries who employ skilled people should not left at the mercy of discretionary grants which many didn't get last time around. 

"With breweries currently closing at an alarming rate across the UK time is running out for government to step in and save the British pint, before it's too late."

Meanwhile, Nicholls also noted the importance of grants being processed as quickly as possible as “businesses are on the brink” after weeks of curfew and severe restrictions.

“There is still a long way to go and we will be in close contact with the government to make sure that our members, and the whole of hospitality, gets the support it needs and deserves. This is a significant step forward for us, though, and a hugely valuable lifeline for businesses to stay afloat and keep as many staff as possible in their jobs,” she said.