‘Government has to give us all a decent chance to survive and thrive,' says Midlands hotelier

01 June 2020 by

The UK government must give hospitality businesses "a decent chance to survive and thrive", said Nailcote Hall hotel owner Rick Cressman.

Speaking to The Caterer, he said: "As soon as we open the doors we have a lot of money going out, so we've got to have sufficient opportunity to pull enough money through the doors to have half a chance of breaking even, let alone making money.

"Until we are given sufficient flexibility to be able to open, the government should continue to support us. They told us if you've got a viable business going into this mess, you back your staff then they'll be there to back you, and I think our industry should hold them to it."

Cressman, who has owned the Grade II-listed, 49-bedroom property in Berkswell, Warwickshire, for nearly 30 years, said hotel marketing consortia and online travel agents need to appoint representatives to support lobbying organisations such as UKHospitality, "so that we get a more cohesive lobby presenting itself to government that's got real power behind it".

He said businesses should back campaigns like those to reduce two-metre social distancing guidelines, which he said was "the difference between having a chance to rebuild business for the future and not being able to even reopen"; as well as cutting business rates "dramatically" when they return next year.

He said: "[Business rates have] no relevance to the ability of the businesses to actually pay these business rates; it's got no relevance to the business that we are actually doing.

"If my local authority presents me with a rates bill in April 2021 for the next financial year of £100,000, please tell me how on earth am I going to pay it?"

He also said that the narrative needs to emphasise the importance of hospitality as an industry where many young people get their first experiences of the workplace and have part-time jobs to support their education, which he described as "an enormous social issue that backs up the financial need for support for our industry".

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