Hospitality trade bodies warn of mounting costs while restrictions remain in place

29 June 2021 by
Hospitality trade bodies warn of mounting costs while restrictions remain in place

Hospitality trade bodies are calling on the government to take action over the mounting costs facing businesses while restrictions remain in place.

Yesterday (28 June) health secretary Sajid Javid said 19 July remains the target date for lifting restrictions in England.

However, from this week hospitality operators will have to restart business rates payments, VAT payments and contribute more towards furlough salary costs.

This is despite reduced trading, with many being forced to close due to Test and Trace requirements, resulting in thousands of lost income and exacerbating the ongoing staffing shortage.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) warned that keeping restrictions in place until 19 July would cost the sector a further £200m.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said the delay will see one in four late-night businesses close permanently without further government support.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said ministers should "look again" at support measures available and consider extending the business rates holiday and 0% furlough contributions for venues forced to close.

She said the delay to the original 21 June ‘freedom day' meant many businesses had hired staff that were then unable to work and ineligible for the furlough scheme.

"Instead, they find themselves in new roles, often with an increasing chance of being laid off – it's not the best introduction to a struggling sector and is doing little to boost confidence in our workforce," said Nicholls.

"A delay of four weeks – after 15 months of restricted or no trading – feels like a lifetime for struggling hospitality businesses, as costs continue to mount.

"During what should be a peak trading period, we remain severely restricted or, in some cases, forcibly closed. The knock-on impact will be felt throughout the summer."

Speaking yesterday, Javid said he saw "no reason" to extend coronavirus restrictions beyond 19 July.

Image: dotshock/Shutterstock

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