New campaign demands the government locks in 12.5% VAT rate for hospitality and tourism: Chancellor Rishi Sunak is facing calls to make the 12.5% VAT rate permanent for hospitality and tourism via a major new campaign, VATsEnough. The campaign comes in the wake of the VAT rate for industry businesses rising to 12.5% this month, with plans to return it to its pre-pandemic level of 20% come April 2022. UKHospitality is now urging customers, suppliers, hospitality venues and employees to lobby their MPs on the need to lock in the 12.5% VAT rate for sector businesses. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re launching the VATsEnough campaign because a failure to act risks the future of hotels, cafés, pubs, restaurants and a myriad of other venues and attractions across the country. Our businesses bring light, life and heart to communities across the country but are battling huge challenges in terms of labour shortages and the food supply chain after 18 months of desperate struggle due to the pandemic. By introducing a permanent 12.5% rate of VAT in his autumn Budget, the chancellor can help us bounce back strongly, keep prices affordable for customers and level up UK jobs. Lower VAT will foster investment in businesses and high streets, accelerating our recovery from the pandemic. We need the whole hospitality sector, its suppliers, employees and customers, to come together and demonstrate to the government how critical the lower rate of VAT is for our sector’s recovery.” UKHospitality’s calls were backed by a YouGov poll showing 57% believe hospitality’s VAT rate should not return to its former level, while 70% think the government has a responsibility to support the sector’s recovery. Critically, half of those surveyed said they would eat out less frequently if prices went up in restaurants, pubs and cafes, which would be inevitable if VAT goes back up. Other findings included 81% of respondents saying hospitality and tourism is important for providing local jobs, while 78 % believe the sectors are vital to their local communities. Some 55% are concerned about restaurant closures as a result of the pandemic, and 46% are worried more venues will close. In addition, 56% believe keeping a reduced rate of VAT would directly benefit their local high streets, with 63% saying it would have a positive impact on hospitality.
Just Eat launches online restaurant canteen solution for hybrid workforce: Just Eat has launched Just Eat Pay in the UK, a new employee benefit service for businesses through its corporate arm, Just Eat for Business. The solution serves as an online canteen. It allows businesses to provide employees with a daily or monthly allowance to order a meal from a wide variety of food options via Just Eat’s 58,000-plus restaurant partners. Designed for a hybrid workforce, Just Eat Pay offers the same service for those working at home and at the office, with contact-free delivery or collection options available. There are no fixed costs for Just Eat Pay and companies can manage their account through an online dashboard. Just Eat UK managing director Andrew Kenny said: “As we all continue to adapt to the changing landscape, at Just Eat we’re committed to contributing to employee well-being both at home and in the office.” The service launched in 2019 and is being used by a wide range of businesses across a number of Just Eat Takeaway.com markets, including Belgium, Switzerland and France, where it’s called Takeaway Pay. As part of the global initiative, Just Eat Takeaway.com has also recently launched the Takeaway Pay Card. Through this, corporate clients are able to pay for their Takeaway Pay meal at food and beverage merchants using the debit card. It is available in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, with plans to roll out to more markets over the coming months.