£4BN LOSS PREDICTED FOR HOSPITALITY SECTOR
- UKHospitality, Kingston First and the Mayor of London join call for urgent financial assistance for the UK’s hospitality sector following the announcement of Plan B.
- Financial support can be provided by redirecting surplus funds from The Additional Restrictions Grant or by introducing a new discretionary fund, or both.
The UK’s hospitality sector is bracing itself for a £4bn hit in festive sales with the new ‘work from home’ directive killing off the UK’s hospitality sector this Christmas. Hospitality bosses believe reintroducing the ‘work from home’ guidance will diminish consumer confidence, resulting in widespread cancellations of bookings during the critical festive trading period.
UKHospitality, Kingston First BID and the Mayor of London have joined the call on behalf of the UK’s hospitality sector for an urgent financial support to soften the blow to Christmas trading from new COVID guidelines by redirecting unspent grants available to the sector or by introducing new alternatives such as a discretionary fund to be administered by local authorities.
This call is further backed by British BIDs, The BID Foundation, Night Time Industries Association and the Association of Town and City Management who together collectively represent over 100,000 hospitality businesses.
Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality said:
“The recent measures announced will significantly impact consumer confidence and be particularly devastating to city and town centre venues. As such, they risk devastating the hospitality sector amid its most important time of the year. We therefore desperately need support if we are to survive this latest set of restrictions and urge the government to stand behind our industry. That means full business rates relief, grants, rent protection and extended VAT reductions. Anything less would prove catastrophic.”
Kirsten Henly, Chief Executive at Kingston First said:
“The mounting concerns about the Omicron variant and increasing guidance encouraging people to consider their social contact during this crucial festive period is having a catastrophic impact on consumer facing businesses in our town centre and in particular, our leisure and hospitality businesses. Throughout the pandemic, the safety and well-being of staff and customers has been at the forefront of businesses’ minds and as we collectively respond to the impact of the Omicron variant, they now urgently need financial support to ensure they can survive through the weeks ahead. We are supporting calls for the government to step in with financial aid to protect these businesses and their employees.”
Bill Addy, Chief Executive, BID Foundation said:
“As businesses shift to working from home guidance and those affected absorb the impact of new restrictions, we once again have to point out to this Government that it is those industries who have borne the brunt of restrictions over the past 18 months who are being asked to do so again. Christmas is a crucial time for organisations within the city as people visit theatres, music venues, concerts and more. Culture, arts and entertainment lost 20% of its sector GVA due to COVID restrictions, with my region Merseyside one of the worst regions affected. This sector is a major employer in our country and a vital partner for hospitality. The loss of income affects jobs, venues and risks us starting 2022 a step behind. These venues being forced to change their guidance to audiences deserve support for any loss of income.”