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Thu 9th Dec 2021 - Hospitality sector calls for urgent financial review to survive
Hospitality sector calls for urgent financial review to survive: UKHospitality, Croydon BID, Boxpark and Mayor of London have joined a call for an urgent review into financial support for the UK’s hospitality sector following the government’s announcement of Plan B restrictions. The group believes reintroducing the ‘work from home’ guidance will diminish consumer confidence, resulting in widespread cancellations of bookings during the critical festive trading period. It is urging the government to provide financial support to soften the blow to Christmas trading from new covid guidelines by redirecting unspent grants available to the sector or by introducing new alternatives such as a discretionary fund to be administered by local authorities. The call is further backed by British BIDs, The BID Foundation, Night Time Industries Association and the Association of Town and City Management who together collectively represent over 100,000 hospitality businesses. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The measures announced today will significantly impact consumer confidence and be particularly devastating to city and town centre venues. As such, they risk devastating the hospitality sector amid its most important time of the year. We therefore desperately need support if we are to survive this latest set of restrictions and urge the government to stand behind our industry. That means full business rates relief, grants, rent protection and extended VAT reductions. Anything less would prove catastrophic.” Matthew Sims, chief executive of Croydon BID, said: “Government must recognise that recent delays and indecision in responding to the growing trend of cases particularly with respect to Omicron has now left our high streets reeling from the announcements made by our prime minister today. The devastating impact of reintroducing ‘work from home’ guidance will lead to a further reduction in consumer confidence which will undoubtedly lead to the cancellation of Christmas parties and gatherings during the festive period and a very hard January for the retail hospitality and leisure sectors. The government must meet business halfway and introduce financial support such as a discretionary fund or the repurposing of The Additional Restrictions Grant fund and allocate to businesses most affected during the busiest time of the year. Without it, we can expect further closures on our high streets.” Bill Addy, chief executive of BID Foundation, said: “As businesses shift to working from home guidance and those affected absorb the impact of new restrictions, we once again have to point out to this government that it is those industries who have borne the brunt of restrictions over the past 18 months who are being asked to do so again. Christmas is a crucial time for organisations within the city as people visit theatres, music venues, concerts and more. Culture, arts and entertainment lost 20% of its sector GVA due to covid restrictions, with my region Merseyside one of the worst regions affected. This sector is a major employer in our country and a vital partner for hospitality. The loss of income affects jobs, venues and risks us starting 2022 a step behind. These venues being forced to change their guidance to audiences deserve support for any loss of income.”

Propel Premium Advent Video Calendar, to feature Regina Borda: Propel has launched its Premium Advent Video Calendar, giving subscribers access to a great video each day in December from our autumn conference series. Each day in December in the run-up to Christmas, Premium subscribers will be sent a video featuring some of the sector’s leading operators, who will share insights, advice and expertise. The next video – which will be sent at 9am today (Thursday 9 December) – features Regina Borda, managing director at Pizza Hut Europe, UK and Canada, who talks about the brand, its development internationally, its future strategy and working with entrepreneurs and franchisees to maintain its growth and success. Premium subscribers received the fifth edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday (3 December). The database showed the details of 366 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches. Premium subscribers also receive access to two other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, and the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. If you want to upgrade your subscription to have an unlimited number of people receive access to Premium, email

Boris Johnson accused of wrecking pubs and restaurants with new covid curbs: Boris Johnson has been accused of wrecking the hospitality industry “to save his own skin” after announcing new covid restrictions that threaten to wipe £8bn off its sales at the height of the festive season. Industry leaders warned The Telegraph that the prime minister’s new “Plan B” rules designed to stop the spread of the omicron variant will knock 40% off their revenues during the most crucial time of year for pubs, bars and restaurants. The new restrictions hit share prices across the leisure industry. Wetherspoon fell 1.7%, while Cineworld dropped 2.6% and The Restaurant Group, owner of Wagamama, closed down 2.4%. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, warned the “double-whammy” of new documentation and work from home guidance could hit revenues at pubs and restaurants by up to 40% over Christmas. She said the hospitality industry usually makes around a quarter of its £100bn annual revenues in December alone. Activity has already shown signs of a slowdown in the past week over fears of omicron: “The move to Plan B will cut the recovery in town centres dead in its tracks.” Jace Tyrell, chief executive of the New West End Company business partnership, said renewed restrictions would be a hammer blow for retail and leisure companies, while Mike Cherry of the Federation of Small Businesses warned that cash-strapped companies “simply don’t have the capacity to be enforcement officers for Plan B”.

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