Today UKHospitality and over 200 CEOs from across the UK’s hospitality sector have called on the Government to provide immediate support for businesses in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, published in full below, UKHospitality has said that, unless financial support is swift, then the sector is looking at unprecedented levels of closures and job losses across the nation.
Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
17 March 2020
Dear Prime Minister,
The advice to avoid hospitality venues, coupled with the speed of coronavirus developments compels us to write less than a week since the Budget commitments to assist businesses through the hardest time in living memory. Hospitality trade and footfall plummeted by up to 70% prior to your comments yesterday and will undoubtedly have worsened since, genuinely posing an existential threat to our businesses and the jobs. Hospitality represents 10% of UK employment and 5% of GDP and the shockwaves of a sector-wide failure would be socially, culturally and economically devastating.
The Budget brought succour to some SMEs in our sector but left 7 out of 10 hotels, pubs, restaurants and attractions unsupported. Without further urgent intervention we face unprecedented levels of business closure – staff are already being laid off and the situation will only become more severe.
We need Government action now, to: extend the business rates and NIC holiday to all hospitality businesses for at least six months; follow the lead of other countries such as the USA, France and Denmark by committing to additional working capital support while funding salaries and retaining staff and; call on landlords and banks to avoid forfeiture of rent payments.
Hospitality is in a potentially fatal cashflow catastrophe, but all is not lost. With the right support from Government, our valuable sector will be able to focus on its teams and may yet forge ahead for the benefit of the British economy and people. The biggest threat to its ability to do so is that support comes either too late or not at adequate levels to see us through: we implore you to act on the above, without delay.
The letter is then co-signed by UKHospitality and over 200 CEOs from across the UK’s hospitality sector
Let’s all hope that the letter lands and makes an impact on Prime Minister Johnson prompting urgent and substantial action.