The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has welcomed a government pledge to provide tax help to those affected by floods but says more still needs to be done.
Bob Cotton, BHA chief executive, told Caterer he was "delighted" that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had offered practical help to businesses, but urged the Government to write to banks and utility companies to request that they do not press for payment on outstanding amounts.
HMRC said it will defer collection of taxes and duties, or agree instalment arrangements where flood victims are unable to pay as a result of ‘severe hardship.'
HMRC will also waive interest, surcharges and penalties during the time which collection of tax or duty is deferred, introduce practical arrangements where individuals and businesses have lost records in the flooding, suspend debt collection proceedings and defer compliance checks and investigations.
It follows a call by the BHA to give flood-hit hospitality businesses a six-month moratorium on national insurance and VAT payments.
Cotton described the Government's speedy response as ‘excellent' but urged them to write to utility companies and banks to ‘be sensitive' during this time.
"It matters so much to our sector because we have no input VAT, all the bill is output," he said. "If you are any other business you have a lot of input VAT."
By Helen Gilbert