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Tue 16th Jun 2020 - Sector CEOs and Deliveroo write to PM calling for urgent support for industry
Sector CEOs and Deliveroo write to PM calling for urgent support for industry: Deliveroo and the chief executives of its leading restaurant partners, including Itsu, Pizza Hut, Pret A Manger and Wagamama, have called on the government to provide urgent support to the restaurant industry. In a letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, the 90 signatories representing more than 1,000 restaurants across the UK set out the need for swift action on key issues, such as cutting VAT on restaurant food and maintaining the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for restaurants while social distancing measures are in place. Deliveroo said research it had carried out found 75% of its partners were concerned about making a profit while necessary social distancing requirements remain in place. Unless additional government support is provided, the signatories warn the “shuttered restaurants in towns and cities across the country will be a permanent reminder of the damage this pandemic has done”. The signatories state the crisis for the UK restaurant industry is far from over, with thousands of restaurants facing bankruptcy due to ongoing challenges posed by covid-19. In a detailed submission to the government, Deliveroo stated based on extensive consultation with partners large and small, it has formulated a series of key policy proposals, which would help the industry through this challenging period, adapt to the new economic environment and thrive in the future. As well as maintaining the CJRS and cutting VAT, the letter called for action on rent. Deliveroo has proposed a number of solutions, including “mortgage holidays” for landlords to give financial breathing space to restaurants in the form of lower rents, and an extension of the moratorium on evictions for as long as social distancing measures prevent restaurants from operating at full capacity. Other areas for proposed action include helping restaurants meet the cost of becoming covid-secure, a government-led campaign making clear restaurant food is safe and changes to planning law to enable restaurants to adapt operations more easily. On the latter, the submission called on the government to permanently allow restaurants to operate as takeaway services under permitted development rights as the government has allowed them to do on a temporary basis during the lock-down; reform the Licensing Act 2003 so pubs and restaurants with on-site alcohol licences are automatically enabled to sell alcohol via takeaway and delivery services; and enable restaurants to make full use of outside private and public space by ending the need for a “change of use” approval to place tables outside a restaurant or for a pavement licence to use public areas to serve people outside. Deliveroo chief executive and founder Will Shu said: “We are urging the government to implement this package of measures to ensure the UK’s amazing restaurant industry survives and then thrives.”

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