Hospitality trade bodies, including UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), are calling for the government to extend the business rates holiday for at least a further three months in England to allow businesses to get back on their feet.
The groups have warned that there is still a long way to go for venues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic and restrictions on the sector, with the majority of businesses still in very real danger of failing.
Results from a recent survey of members by CGA from all three trade bodies showed that only 40% of pubs have been able to welcome customers back to their outside spaces, with turnover only expected to be 29% of that achieved over the same period in 2019. This is despite the hundreds of millions of pounds invested in outdoor areas and safety measures, at an average of over £8,000 per site.
Even when Step 3 of the roadmap allows indoor drinking and dining for six people or two households, they are estimated to only reach 56% of turnover when compared to pre-pandemic figures.
Almost a quarter of those surveyed believe that their business will be unviable before the end of the year based on current trading estimates.
The trade bodies are calling for business rates to be cancelled completely in England for hospitality until October 2021, to allow businesses time to recover before yet another cost comes back online. This is an additional three months, with rates currently set to restart in July. In Scotland and Wales, hospitality has a full year of business rates holiday.
A joint spokesperson for the trade bodies said: "While government support over the pandemic has been welcomed, the vast majority of our members have not yet been paid their restart grants, funding for which was delivered to local authorities over two weeks ago. Their businesses are teetering on the edge of survival and they will now be facing their business rates becoming due on 1 July, with potentially only one full week of restriction free trading under their belts.
"For many, this will be the last straw, jeopardising the jobs that have been protected by the furlough scheme until this point. We need to see a full cancellation of business rates until at least October 2021 to allow them the breathing space to recover their businesses."