More than 50 hospitality chiefs have called on new chancellor Rishi Sunak to cut business rates by 10% in next week's budget and extend reliefs to the sector.
The chancellor, who replaced Sajid Javid in prime minister Boris Johnson's reshuffle last month, was warned that inaction "risks creating ghost towns, lost jobs, lost investment and a drag on the economy".
The letter reads: "The sector provides employment for one in 10 of the working population and serves Britons in rural and urban areas alike, in the north and the south, and everywhere in between. Hospitality is the face of Britain's tourism offering to the world.
"Yet the sector is being damaged by a broken and archaic tax that penalises these meeting places and social hubs. The sector pays more than £3b each year in business rates – four times more than it would be under an equitable system. Hospitality is the most negatively and disproportionately impacted sector of the economy by this tax."
Signatories to the letter include Wendy Bartlett, executive chairman of contract caterer Bartlett Mitchell; Mark Jones, CEO of Carluccio's; James Spragg, CEO of Casual Dining Group; Martin Williams, CEO of Gauchos; Phil Urban, CEO of pub group Mitchells & Butlers and Andrew McKenzie, managing director of the Vineyard Group.
The letter said the reliefs needed to be accompanied by an immediate and rapid relief of the current system.
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