Restaurateurs appeal to PM to ease business burden on hospitality

19 December 2016 by
Restaurateurs appeal to PM to ease business burden on hospitality

More than 20 bosses from restaurant chains such as Leon, Wagamama and Carluccio's have appealed to Theresa May for help to tackle a number of issues facing the industry.

The London-based restaurateurs expressed concerns in the letter, published in the London Evening Standard, about looming business rates. Some will see a rise of over 50% from April due to an increase in property rental values.

Alongside high business rates, the restaurateurs also expressed their concerns over the high level of VAT on hospitality and the apprenticeship levy. While the business leaders supported the increase in National Living Wage from £7.20 an hour to £7.50, they said the increase must be balanced elsewhere, rather than being an additional burden.

"Labour costs represent around 30% of our revenue and we need balance elsewhere in the tax regime to do that," the restaurateurs said.

John Vincent, co-founder and chief executive of Leon, told the London Evening Standard: "The Leon in the Strand alone will see its rates go up by £24,000 next year. That's why we're joining together with other restaurants to make this call for action. The government needs to listen or restaurants will close and thousands of people will lose their livelihoods."

The letter also touches on the higher prices restaurants pay for ingredients imported from Europe following Brexit's effect on the value of sterling.
They also asked for reassurance that they will be able to keep their European staff members once Britain leaves the European Union.

The companies want Theresa May to action a reduction in VAT, give an extension for the introduction of business rates and cut their National Insurance contributions.

The letter
"We know Theresa May appreciates the contribution of the hospitality industry but we are not sure the government understands the commercial pressures we face. We pay millions of pounds in VAT, business rates, national insurance and other taxes. In other countries, taxes are cut for the hospitality sector.

"We want to tell the PM of the anxiety over our sector if we lose significant numbers of our teams, many of whom come from Europe. We want her to consider a reduction in VAT, extending transitional relief on business rates or reducing national insurance contributions."

John Vincent, CEO and co-founder of Leon
Henry Dimbleby, co-founder, London Union [pictured]
Jonathan Downey, co-founder, London Union
Mark Selby and Thomasina Miers, co-founders, Wahaca
Luke Johnson, chairman, Patisserie Holdings
Steve Richards, CEO, Casual Dining Group
Robin Rowland, CEO, Yo! Sushi
Gerry Ford, CEO, Caffè Nero
David Campbell, CEO of Wagamama
Jens Hofma, CEO, Pizza Hut Restaurants
Simon Kossoff, co-founder, Carluccio's
Richard Hodgson, CEO, Pizza Express
Chaker Hanna, chief executive, Levant Group
Andy McCue, CEO, the Restaurant Group PLC
Jeremy Roberts, CEO, Living Ventures Group
James Horler, CEO, 3Sixty Restaurants Ltd
Jason Myers, CEO, Busaba Eathai
Chris Hill, CEO, the New World Trading Company
Nick Collins, CEO, Loungers
Alex Reilley, co-founder, Loungers
Ajith Jayawickrema, founder and director, Turtle Bay Restaurants
Richard Bigg, managing director, Camino

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