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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 20th May 2020 - UKHospitality launches campaign calling on governments to be fair to industry
UKHospitality launches campaign calling on governments to be fair to industry and support sector’s roadmap to restart: Governments in Westminster, Holyrood and Cardiff must invest in a fair and timely return for hospitality this summer, for the benefit of local communities, peoples’ jobs, national well-being and the British economy. That’s the central message of a new campaign launched today (Wednesday, 20 May) by UKHospitality to highlight businesses are ready to reopen in a safe and sustainable way given the right government support. With prime minister Boris Johnson setting out a roadmap for the sector to restart in England and proposals soon to emerge in Scotland, the #FAIR4Hospitality campaign outlines four primary areas in which governments can deliver for Britain and allow hospitality to play a leading role in the recovery. The first of these is around well-being, with UKHospitality calling for the government to endorse the trade body’s best-practice protocols and risk assessments for a covid secure restart. In terms of workers, UKHospitality is asking for the furlough scheme to be retained at full rate for the sector until businesses successfully restart. Under the area of communities, it has urged the government to provide a “national time out” on rent payments for the remainder of the year and a solution to address debt and costs for business. And in the area of consumers, the trade body has called for a cut in the rate of VAT for hospitality businesses to help boost confidence and incentivise visits to tourist destinations. As a first step, UKHospitality has submitted its best practice health and safety protocols to ministers for endorsement, which emphasise the sector needs flexibility to operate safely and should not be constricted by a one-size-fits-all approach given the diversity of businesses covered. The trade body re-emphasised the devastating impact coronavirus has had on the sector with a 21% decline in trade in the first three months of 2020 as the industry moved into lock-down – ten times worse than the whole economy. In the second quarter there has been a near wipe-out of trade; about a third of businesses believe they will never reopen some sites. Even while closed, the sector faces further costs – with no revenue and bills of up to £1bn in rent and other overheads in the second quarter of the year. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality needs the UK and devolved governments to help us deliver for our customers, our employees, local communities and the well-being of the nation.”

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