Tom Kerridge: Hospitality venues will close without business rates freeze

10 November 2023 by
Tom Kerridge: Hospitality venues will close without business rates freeze

Chefs Tom Kerridge, Monica Galetti and Tom Aikens have led calls for the government to freeze taxes for hospitality businesses in the upcoming Autumn Statement.

The trio have joined more than 230 companies, including Burger King, Travelodge, and Greene King, in calling for business rates to be frozen and a relief package extended into next year.

They have signed an open letter created by trade body UKHospitality which warns the sector could face an extra £1b bill next April without help from the Chancellor.

Kerridge said: "The hospitality industry has taken a battering in recent years, yet pubs, bars, and restaurants all across the nation continue to go above and beyond to provide memorable and outstanding experiences to everyone that comes through the door.

"As an industry this is what we love to do. The stark reality for many businesses, however, is that with rising costs and ongoing challenges time is running out and without further support from Government they will shut their doors."

Other signatories to the letter include former model and publican Jodie Kidd as well as the chief executives of hotel giant Marriott International and Fuller's brewery.

The hospitality industry has been increasingly vocal about the potential impact of business rates rises ahead of the Autumn Statement on 22 November, with trade bodies warning venues could be forced to reduce staff numbers and cut back on investment.

Eligible hospitality, leisure and retail businesses get a 75% discount off their business rates bills for the 2023/2024 tax year up to a cap of £110,00 per business.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced the scheme during his 2022 autumn statement, but it is set to end on 31 March 2024.

Business rates are also set to rise next April in line with September's headline rate of inflation, which Altus Group warned could also add more than 6% to bills next year.

UKHospitality has called for a freeze in the business rates multiplier and for the 75% relief to be extended with a cap of at least £2m.

Aikens, who runs the Michelin-starred Muse restaurant in London, said: "The industry has suffered immeasurable damage over recent years, and the planned tax hike next April must be taken off the table in order to support growth and investment in the hospitality sector."

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