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UKH welcomes government plans for hospitality grant support in Budget

Published:  01 March, 2021

UK Hospitality (UKH) has welcomed news that the hospitality industry will receive a new package of grant support in Wednesday’s Budget. 

The measure will see grants of up to £18,000 per hospitality premises to facilitate the sector’s restart this summer. An additional £425m has also been added to the Additional Restrictions Grant fund, which supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes. 

The grants are part of a £5bn scheme for high street shops and hospitality firms in England and Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said this would help businesses get back on their feet as the economy reopens. 

The news comes as the government unveiled its roadmap for re-opening which revealed premises would be allowed to offer table service outside from 12 April at the earliest, and a return to indoor service is proposed for 17 May, but with groups limited to six people or two households.

UKH has highlighted the urgent need for the grants to reach all hospitality businesses as quickly as possible. It said that previous grants had been delayed by bureaucratic processes and businesses reported that only 37% of grants announced in January had been paid out a month later. 

The news comes as UKH also welcomed the interim Pre-Budget report from the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of MPs into the impact of coronavirus on business and workers. The committee highlighted that the Government should be looking at longer-term ‘active measures to address the issue of growing commercial rent arrears’, which must involve businesses, landlords, banks and other stakeholders.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKH welcomed the news of the grants for hospitality businesses. 

“It is absolutely critical that the grant funding is put into the hands of hospitality business owners as quickly as possible. Businesses are crying out for the cash now so there can be no further delays, which might make it too late for some,” she said. 

 “While this is a positive step it needs to be part of a wider package at the Budget that includes an extension to the 5% VAT rate for a full year and a business rates holiday through 2021/22. Without these measures, and full furlough while we re-open, the hospitality sector’s recovery will be stunted along with our ability to start tackling unemployment by creating jobs.”

Nearly 12,000 licensed premises have closed in Britain since December 2019 — an average of around 30 a day and the highest rate on record, according to the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.