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Sat 31st Oct 2020 - Second lockdown means hospitality needs a lifeline to survive the winter
Second lockdown means hospitality needs a lifeline to survive the winter: The hospitality sector needs a lifeline to survive the winter, a trade body has argued after PM Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown will start on Thursday. A spokesman for UKHospitalty said: “The costs to hospitality businesses of a second lockdown will be even heavier than the first, coming after periods of forced closure, the accumulation of mass debt and then significantly lower trading due to the restrictions of recent weeks. The sector was hit hardest and first, and this recent shutdown will hurt for months and years to come. The extension of furlough for a further month does help to protect our workforce during this difficult time. If hospitality, the sector that is our country’s third largest employer, is to survive and help drive economic recovery, it will need equivalent – or more – support than that of the first lockdown. Hospitality businesses have already been pushed to the limits, with many closures already. For those that have survived, viability is on a knife edge, as is the future of the tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend on hospitality, including through its supply chain, right across the country. It is critical that businesses are given a lifeline to survive the winter, before being given the support to enter a revival phase in 2021, as the nation’s prospects improve. A clear roadmap out of lockdown and through the tiers will also be vital for businesses to plan their survival, and the safeguarding of hundreds of thousands of jobs. It is important to remember that some parts of hospitality, such as nightclubs, have not even been allowed to re-open. The support for those, now that potential reopening has been kicked further into the future, must be redoubled to ensure that they are not lost forever.” The British Beer and Pub Association said the 28-day lockdown will result in thousands of pubs and many of the breweries that support them being lost, unless the government urgently provides the sector the same, if not greater, levels of support than it did for the first lockdown. Emma McClarkin, chief executive, said: “As a sector we are of course devastated to have to close our pubs and are fearful for their future, but we recognise the situation and that the spread of covid-19 is serious. Make no mistake, this could be the final straw for thousands of pubs and brewers. It will also create major disruption to our supply chain partners whose businesses are now also at severe risk. The level of financial support will need to be same, if not greater, than that provided for the first lockdown earlier this year. This means grants for ALL pubs sufficient to cover ongoing fixed costs, and compensation grants for Britain’s brewers who will also be permanently devastated by the lockdown. The news of the extension of the full furlough scheme for this lockdown period is welcome, but we await the full detail of it, and will need a full support plan far beyond the lockdown period to save our great British pubs and brewers. A clear, early signal on an economic stimulus package from April next year is a vital element of this. This includes extending the business rates holiday and the hospitality VAT cut, and support on beer duty. As ever, we stand ready to work with government on such a plan. We served our communities well throughout the first lockdown, and we want to continue to serve communities across the United Kingdom through this closure and for many years to come. Support from the government with investment in the pub and brewing sector will reap rewards economically and socially. Only such support will ensure that we can come together once more to enjoy the warm welcome of the great British pub with a great British pint once this crisis has passed.” Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association said: “The announcement from the Prime Minister today will leave Night Time Economy businesses facing a ‘Financial Armageddon’. It is the most horrific of Halloweens. It’s frightening to think that given the gravity of the situation, we are still being given limited communication, consultation or time to respond, or plan around these decisions. The entire Night Time Economy consisting of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of workers are suffering. Their plight is being made even worse by the huge void in financial support for the sector. Many of our businesses have experienced extreme financial hardship, been presented with unmanageable operational measures and have in some cases been forced into complete closure since March. We are extremely concerned for business owners, operators, freelancers, creatives and people working within this sector. The level of despair and financial pressure this government has placed them under can only be described as slow torture. As a result we are seeing a substantial rise in people suffering from deteriorating mental health, with many simply unable to support themselves or their families. Without immediate and significant government financial support and an exit strategy, it is not an exaggeration to say that this will be the final nail in the coffin for many night time economy businesses. And even with support, many viable businesses will be lost. This moment will go down in history as the moment that the government destroyed a globally significant sector through poor communication and mismanagement.” CAMRA’s national chairman Nik Antona said: “A second lockdown is a devastating blow for an industry that is currently on its knees. Pubs have already invested thousands to reopen covid-safe environments despite facing seriously reduced incomes. Simply put, the new lockdown couldn’t come at a worse time. The government must introduce a robust support package for all pubs and breweries – regardless of their current rateable value. While an extension to the furlough scheme is welcomed, it does not go far enough. We need more details of how much support will be offered along with a clear roadmap out of lockdown to ensure local jobs and businesses are not lost forever.”


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