By Denis Sheehan MIH, Publisher, H&C News: Chancellor prioritises ideology over the reality of here and now.
Despite countless calls on government to address the perilous here and now situation the hospitality industry finds itself in, the chancellor this morning delivered a budget to do little more than underline he and the PM’s ideology.
Earlier today YouGov published results from their most recent survey confirming the recession has hit consumers forcing them to implement cut backs on eating out as top of their budgeting priorities. In the weeks and months ahead the action from consumers will impact even more greatly adding further pressure on hospitality businesses ability to open their doors. Seeing all too many close never to open again.
Following the release of the YouGov data, the chancellor did not announce one single measure that was targeted to avoid mass closures and job losses across hospitality.
Two areas of help have been long requested and again ignored, business rates relief and lower VAT.
Altus Group is a leading provider of commercial real estate advisory services, so we asked Robert Hayton, UK President at the real estate adviser Altus Group, for his reaction, he said: “For a self-proclaimed low tax, pro-growth, pro-business Government, it beggars’ belief that inaction on business rates could see the total tax take rise by £5.33 billion next April with discounts for retail, leisure and hospitality ending.”
Rajeev Shaunak, partner at MHA, says the battery of tax cuts and growth measures don’t mean much to businesses struggling to survive the winter and left uncertain and underwhelmed by the energy price guarantee: “The energy crisis dwarfs all other concerns for the hospitality trade. The tax cuts are all well and good but the benefits won’t help pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and others get through the winter. The energy price guarantee for business which was fleshed out earlier this week rather than today, might help businesses stay float for a while but unless more is done many will be swept away over the next six months. The energy price guarantee for business should have extended over 12-18 months, not 6.
“It does have to be acknowledged that any strong and clearly defined measures (preferably over the next 12 to 18 months) will need paying back at some time but it is important to get over the dangerous period first.”
A leading chef we spoke with summed up his thoughts as… “No VAT change and no business rates reform is bonkers.” VAT and business rates were the focus of most we spoke with.
There was a sense of hope amongst many in the industry that we spoke with over recent days that action would at last be taken to lessen the load for hospitality. Most of the conversations immediately following the mini budget so far this morning come into a category that words like… disappointment, frustration, disillusionment, and even anger do not begin to be sufficient to describe.