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Mon 15th Feb 2021 - Sector bosses call on chancellor to back hospitality industry in 2021
Sector bosses call on chancellor to back hospitality industry in 2021: More than 160 sector bosses from the UK’s leading hospitality businesses have written to the chancellor ahead of next month’s Budget. The letter – which has been signed by industry leaders including Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny, PizzaExpress managing director Zoe Bowley and The Restaurant Group chief executive Andy Hornby – called for decisive support to help the sector survive, rebuild and drive the economic recovery of the country as it emerges from the covid crisis. The letter, co-ordinated by UKHospitality, highlighted two key areas of government support that, the sector said, must be delivered for it to play a key role in rebuilding the economy, and to help drive investment and provide jobs. These are an extension of the 5% rate of VAT for hospitality for another year, expanded to the wider sector including on-premises alcohol sales, leisure activities and weddings; and the continuation of the business rates holiday for hospitality for the whole of 2021-22, giving businesses valuable breathing room to rebuild and address rent debt. Additionally, the letter calls on the government to provide a decisive package of fundamental support, including extension of the furlough scheme, improved loan repayment terms to increase liquidity, deferral of government-owed debt and replacement of the Job Retention Bonus. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Despite the carnage of the past 12 months, hospitality businesses are ready to pick up the pieces of a battered economy and help spearhead our economic revival. That means we need to start laying the groundwork now. We need to make sure the hospitality sector is in the best possible position to help rebuild as we done in the past. Extending and expanding the cut in VAT will play a crucial role in boosting demand and customer confidence. Our sector is labour-intensive so this will instantly result in more jobs. Removing business rates will allow businesses to repair shattered balance sheets, including tackling the rent mountain that has now hit £2bn. Lots of businesses have taken a beating and many are still only just clinging on. There is no point in the government undoing all the good work it has done in 2020 by pulling the rug from under us as we get back on our feet.”

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