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Trade bodies demand six-month support package

Published:  04 November, 2020

A group of trade bodies have written to the Chancellor to call for a six-month support package to secure the future of British pubs, hospitality and its supply chain. 

The letter outlines details of the necessary support plan, including employment support guaranteeing 80% of wages to continue for businesses beyond the national lockdown, with flexible support available throughout the next six-months.

It also calls for a more sustainable round of grants in line with the first lockdown, stipulating that this must allow access to the full state aid allowance of €3m per business – and potentially more once the UK is no longer subject to EU rules.

Moreover, the letter demands an extension to the rent enforcement moratorium to June 2021; a reduced rate of VAT for hospitality through the whole of 2021 and a business rates holiday for 2021/22.

Without this support, the trade bodies (UKH, BBPA, Camra, BII, SIBA and SIBA and Pub is the Hub) warned that many viable businesses would fail with “significant job losses and impact the long-term prospects of the UK’s economy”.

“The government has recognised the unique challenges facing our sector and we are grateful of the support it has provided. It is not enough, though,” said the trade bodies in a joint statement.  

“Our sector has been hit with job losses and venue closures, with the pain being felt across the entire breadth of the industry down to supply chain businesses which are also suffering,” it stated. 

“We are still on a knife-edge. Over 90% of fully Covid-secure, hospitality and pub businesses are operating at a loss, thousands of otherwise viable businesses in Tier 3 and Tier 2 areas had already closed. Debt continues to build to unsustainable levels and turnover is at a fraction of normal trading.

“We are entering this next phase of national lockdown in a critically vulnerable position,” said the trade bodies.  

 If kept secure, the businesses in question could lead the revival of the economy in 2021, they added. 

“It is a sector that, prior to Covid, directly provided 3.2 million jobs across every part of the UK, and a further 1 million in dependent supply chains, with vital economic and social hubs in every region.

"By every conceivable measure, it makes sense for the government to support hospitality and pub businesses as well as their supply chain partners. We can be in the vanguard of economic recovery next year, driving growth, creating jobs and providing billions in vital tax revenues into the future, but only if we survive this perilous moment.”