UKHospitality has called on the government to step up its support for businesses as the effect of coronavirus continues to spread.
The trade body has said the package of measures announced in the Budget on Wednesday did not go nearly far enough to support the vast majority of hospitality businesses, who are in the eye of the storm, facing falling revenues, diminished profits and a pending cash crunch. It has called for stronger measures to avert job losses and business failures.
These include: • Immediately suspending business rates payments for all hospitality businesses for this year • Extending Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) coverage to hospitality businesses of all size • Short-terms subsidies of staff wages where trade falls markedly • Industry suppliers, including landlords, be discouraged from pursuing businesses for arrears
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said: "The hospitality sector is facing a unique short-term cashflow catastrophe as customers are advised to stay away. Government must support businesses of all sizes through this period so we can bounce back and continue to be at the heart of our communities.
"Business rates must be suspended immediately. Cash in the bank to continue to pay staff is the absolute priority for businesses. We also need extraordinary measures from Government to support our colleagues. There is likely to be a significant short-term fall in demand. Government should step in and cover wage costs so our staff can continue to look after themselves and so businesses will still be there to provide them with employment when the country gets back on its feet."
Data tracking footfall captured by Wireless Social reveals another significant drop on Saturday in cities across the UK, with London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle down between 20% and 35%.