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Sat 21st Nov 2020 - UKHospitality calls for more support to avoid 600,000 job losses
UKHospitality calls for more support to avoid 600,000 job losses as Job Retention Bonus scrapping creates £2.1bn black hole: UKHospitality has written to the chancellor Rishi Sunak warning extra financial support is vital to ensure hospitality businesses survive a bleak winter. It explained the sector would lose its “golden quarter” with Christmas sales severely depressed, then head into the worst sales from January to March and that the removal of the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) has also created a £2.1bn black hole in the sector’s finances in February. The letter follows the release of a new survey of hospitality businesses that shows by February 2021, and without further government support, about 600,000 jobs will be lost against employment figures from the same month this year. The trade body wants the Government to act in five areas to protect hospitality businesses. Those being to announce a successor scheme to JRB as soon as possible, with an early drawdown facility; extend the business rates holiday for a further year from April; continue the VAT cut for hospitality and tourism for the duration of 2021; broker a workable solution on the huge rent debt hanging over the sector, supported by a moratorium extension; and maintain the VAT Retail Export Scheme. UKHospitality claimed this package of additional financial support would put the sector in a position to rebuild next year and continue its position as a major contributor to economic and social wellbeing across all regions of the UK. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The support received so far from government remains greatly appreciated, including recent announcements on the extension of furlough for our teams and grants for closed businesses. Yet these do not go far enough to protect businesses’ bottom line, and, in the case of the removal of the Job Retention Bonus, actively damages their ability to survive. The consequences of the withdrawal of the Job Retention Bonus are severe. While the sector has done its utmost to retain staff, almost half of businesses believe that they will now be forced to make redundancies because of this decision. More broadly, with the right package of support, the chancellor can help the sector navigate the challenging landscape ahead, protect as many viable businesses and jobs as possible, and allow people to enjoy safe and welcoming hospitality across the country.” 

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