Boris has dealt a hammer blow to ‘hospitality’ industry, blasts business chief

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

Trading is down and consumer confidence takes a knock every time curfews and restrictions are mentioned. A mandatory 10pm close will eat into margins and the shift back towards working from home starves venues of customers. City centre venues in particular, that rely on commuters, are at real risk. The additional restrictions do not seem to be justified and it is doubtful they will have a positive impact in combating the virus. 

Statistics from Public Health England show that just 5% of COVID cases can be linked to hospitality. 

Businesses have spent a huge amount of time and money training their staff and making their premises safe. 

Venues have diligently ensured that social distancing is carried out and have overwhelmingly complied with test and trace protocols. 

Hospitality is a safe and supervised place for socialising and there is little compelling evidence that an arbitrary curfew will have a dramatic effect on combating COVID. 

Despite lockdowns in Leicester, Manchester and other parts of the country, cases continued to rise or stubbornly refused to fall, even thought there was necessarily a huge drop in hospitality footfall. This suggests that hospitality isn’t the cause.

We really needed some good news yesterday to offset the gloom brought about by the new restrictions. While the support announced by the Chancellor has given businesses something to shoot for, our worry is that it does not go far enough. 

An extension to the VAT cut was absolutely critical and something UK Hospitality pushed very hard for. Longer tax deferrals and the option of longer loan repayments should also deliver some much-needed breathing room for employers.

Unfortunately, it is looking like the scheme to support employees is going to fall short of the full support we need. Almost 1 million people in our sector are still on furlough. 

With trading down, consumer confidence low and a new raft of restrictions coming in, all those jobs are at risk. We need the government to go further and recognise our sector is being hit harder than others. 

Picking up the full cost of unworked hours would be a relatively low cost for huge reward for our workforce.

It may be the only way to sustain people in their jobs during what could be a bleak winter for hospitality.

Source: Read Full Article