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Labour warns UK visitor economy faces 'wipeout' after taking £3b hit

29 December 2020 by
Labour warns UK visitor economy faces 'wipeout' after taking £3b hit

The hospitality sector faces a winter "wipeout" without further government support after losing billions in the run-up to the festive period, the Labour party has warned.

Analysis by the opposition party estimates that the UK's visitor economy has missed out on more than £3b in sales this winter.

The amount spent by overseas tourists in the country has fallen 80% from £4.2b in November and December 2019.

Labour said this means businesses reliant on visitor spending have seen their income hit "above and beyond" other sectors, including 23,500 hotels, B&Bs, camping grounds and hostels; 29,000 pubs and bars; and 35,500 restaurants.

The party is calling on the government to use the £2b in unneeded business rates relief returned to the Treasury by the major supermarket chains to help other businesses that have "fallen through the cracks".

Ed Miliband MP, Labour's shadow business secretary, said: "Businesses across the UK are facing a black hole this winter with billions wiped from their incomes during the crucial Christmas period.

"Those businesses in our visitor economy are facing not only the effects of restrictions here, but the huge loss of spend from tourism to the UK. Our hotels, hospitality and high streets will be especially hard hit.

"Unless ministers change tack, a winter wipeout of these usually vibrant businesses is a real possibility. They must do the right thing and see them through to the end of this crisis."

Thousands more restaurants, hotels and pubs in England were forced to close for eat-in dining from Boxing Day when tougher tier restrictions came into force with only three days' notice from the government.

UKHospitality warned that without immediate relief the sector faces "collapse".

The Treasury has been contacted for further comment.

Image: Shutterstock

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