Andy Lennox, owner of Zim Braai restaurants in Bournemouth and Poole, has launched a petition calling for the government to extend the VAT cut for the hospitality sector until at least March 2022.
The petition described the measure as "an essential lifeline" for the hospitality industry's recovery and "the single biggest Covid-19 relief measure".
Last summer the chancellor cut VAT on food, accommodation and attractions for six months from 20% to 5%, which was then extended to the end of March 2021. Although there have been mounting calls for this to be extended further given the restrictions still in place on the sector, no further announcements are expected ahead of the chancellor's budget on 3 March, and a treasury minister said last week that there were "no current plans' to extend the VAT cut.
The petition added the 5% VAT rate was the "single biggest recovery mechanism from the last two lockdowns" and would help keep inflation and costs down, encourage reinvestment and investment into the industry, help the industry return to profitability and save hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry.
The petition has already had more than 4,000 signatures. If it surpasses 10,000 the government will have to respond to it, and if it reaches 100,000, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.