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Sat 27th Feb 2021 - UKHospitality welcomes new grants package but more must be provided from the Budget
UKHospitality welcomes new grants package but more must be provided from the Budget: UKHospitality has welcomed a new grants package for sector businesses but said more help must be provided through the Budget announcement on Wednesday (3 March). The measures will see properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under given an £8,000 grant; properties with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 will receive £12,000; while properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or over will get £18,000. The trade body said the grants support is “critical for businesses to survive” but demanded more from the Budget for a successful hospitality revival. An additional £425m has also been added to the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) fund to help those not receiving the grants. UKHospitality also highlighted the need for grants to reach all hospitality businesses as quickly as possible. It said previous grants have been delayed with reports stating only 37% of grants announced in January had been paid out a month later. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This announcement is great news for hospitality businesses that have been struggling to see how they could survive through to the prime minister’s reopening dates. Cash reserves have been severely depleted after a year of closure and restrictions, and these grants are a very welcome boost, putting the sector in a better place to restart. It is absolutely critical the grant funding is put into the hands of hospitality business owners as quickly as possible. Businesses are crying out for the cash now so there can be no further delays, which might make it too late for some. The Government must also clarify once and for all these grants are not subject to EU State Aid rules and that grants can flow to all businesses that so desperately need them. While this is a positive step, it needs to be part of a wider package at the Budget that includes an extension to the 5% VAT rate for a full year and a business rates holiday through 2021-22. Without these measures, and full furlough while we reopen, the hospitality sector’s recovery will be stunted along with our ability to start tackling unemployment by creating jobs.”

Brits believe government should unveil measures in Budget to support pubs: Brits believe the government should unveil measures in the Budget on Wednesday (3 March) to support local pubs and breweries, according to new research. The study, conducted by YouGov, found three-in-four Brits (76%) believed pubs are important to local communities – a four percentage point increase since July 2019. Meanwhile, almost two thirds (64%) said pubs are important in securing the future of local high streets. When asked if they wanted the chancellor to help pubs in the forthcoming Budget, only 12% of respondents thought the government should not do anything. More than half (52%) supported a cut in business rates, 46% wanted to see a cut or freeze in beer duty and 42% supported a reduction on VAT on pub food. The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and Long Live the Local, which commissioned the research, said the findings show “the coronavirus crisis and lockdowns have meant communities value their local pubs and breweries more than ever”. More than six-in-ten people (62%) also said they think the government should use the Budget to support Britain’s brewing industry with 54% thinking a cut in beer duty should be included in the Budget, and seven in ten (69%) believe the level of beer duty in the UK is unfair. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “These findings serve as a much-needed reminder to how important local pubs are to our communities. Now it is on the chancellor to listen to the people and give the support to pubs and brewers they want to see.” 

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