Fuller's chairman: 'The hospitality industry still needs the support of government'

15 November 2023 by
Fuller's chairman: 'The hospitality industry still needs the support of government'

The chairman of Fuller's has warned that more hospitality businesses will close without support from the government in the Autumn Statement next week.

Michael Turner said many smaller pubs would have to permanently shut their doors unless business rates were frozen.

"While we [Fuller's] are in great shape, the hospitality industry as a whole still needs the support of government," he wrote in the group's results.

"Forthcoming changes to business rates, including an inflation-linked rise in the all-important business rates multiplier, will hit the industry hard and while well-funded companies like Fuller's have the bandwidth to withstand (albeit reluctantly) these increases, many will not."

Turner's comments come after chefs Tom Kerridge, Monica Galetti, Tom Aikens and more than 230 hospitality companies, including Burger King, Travelodge, and Greene King, signed an open letter to government calling for business rates to be frozen and a relief package extended into next year.

Eligible hospitality, leisure and retail businesses currently receive a 75% discount off their business rates bills for the 2023/2024 tax year up to a cap of £110,00, but this is due to end on 31 March 2024.

Business rates are also set to rise next April in line with September's headline rate of inflation, which UKHospitality has warned could land the sector with an extra £1b bill.

Fuller's, which runs 183 managed pubs, with over 1,000 bedrooms, and 193 tenanted inns, said it was gearing up for a bumper Christmas trading period with bookings up 11% on last year.

The group saw profit rise 48% in the first half of the year to £14.5m, while revenue rose 125% to £188.8m.

Image: Ron Ellis / Shutterstock

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