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Mon 4th Jan 2021 - UKHospitality calls for roadmap to recovery and pledges support for vaccine roll-out
UKHospitality calls for roadmap to recovery and pledges support for vaccine roll-out: Following respective statements strengthening covid restrictions in England and Scotland, UKHospitality has called for a road map to recovery and has committed to assisting the vaccine roll-out. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Tighter restrictions are a clear and grave indication that we are still a long way from normality. That means hospitality businesses are a long way from being able to begin to trade their way back to safety and keep jobs alive. In which case, the government has to be clear about how it is going to make the best possible use of this time. It needs to be used effectively to provide a rapid and extensive roll out of the vaccine and we need a clear exit strategy along with a road map for recovery and business support. The hospitality sector can assist in the rapid roll out of the vaccine and we are keen to repay the support shown to us. Our sector is sitting on well-ventilated, covid-secure spaces such as hotels, conference centres, pubs and restaurants which can be used and businesses are already coming forward to offer locations to expedite a mass vaccination programme. It is also more important than ever that hospitality businesses, who were hit first and hardest by this crisis are given another package of grants to keep businesses alive. This has to come alongside an extension of the VAT cut and business rates holiday, which were already urgently needed even before these further restrictions were announced.” Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “A third lockdown is yet another blow to our sector. Particularly after it has faced an abysmally quiet Christmas and New Year’s, which saw many pubs remain closed over what is meant to be their busiest time of the year. The announcement today adds to the woes of pubs as it shows they are a long way from reopening properly. The road to recovery for the pub sector just got longer. Given the circumstances, a wave of business failures is imminent unless a greater package of financial support from the government is given to secure pubs and the brewers that supply them. That means grants in line with those in the first lockdown and support beyond April when the business rates holiday, lower VAT rates and furlough scheme all end. Having made it this far through the crisis, it would be disastrous if the Prime Minister didn’t now deliver the support our sector needs to ensure it makes it through to Easter when we hope to return back to normality. Without such support, this lockdown will just tip pubs over the edge meaning jobs vital to communities across England will be lost forever to the detriment of the economy in the long term. Ultimately we know that pubs will eventually be a part of the way out of this crisis and back to normality. Some are even offering themselves up as vaccine hubs, which drives home the fact losing them would do untold harm to our communities.”


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