The UK hospitality industry has called on the new chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak to take steps to boost the sector by slashing business rates and undertaking a reform of the apprenticeship levy.
Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) listed the steps among a raft of actions that would help prevent the loss of thousands of jobs at businesses which have been put at risk as they struggle to deal with "a cocktail of rising costs".
In its budget submission to the Treasury, UKH urged the government to take the following action:
Business rates - a 10% cut in the business rates multiplier for one year, funded by central government, and extension of hospitality relief to more premises. The promised fundamental review of business rates must be launched at the earliest opportunity.
Workforce investment – an increase in the employer National Insurance Contributions threshold will help support businesses to pay higher wages. Reform of the apprenticeship levy to boost take up across the sector.
Alcohol duties – freeze alcohol duties in the Budget and use the proposed review of alcohol taxation to incentivise consumption in hospitality venues.
VAT - consider a reduction in VAT for the accommodation and food and drink industry to support tourism throughout the UK, particularly in coastal communities
Post-Brexit regulation - a thorough review of EU regulations, with the aim to remove or amend unnecessary regulations that hamper business.
Local communities – invest in local transport and communications infrastructure for the benefit of customers and employees alike.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKH (pictured), said: "The upcoming budget is a key moment for the government and new chancellor to demonstrate their commitment to the sector and to recognise that we are a serious player and a powerful driver for positive economic growth. Hospitality is well placed to contribute positively, having achieved higher and faster growth in output, wages and productivity than the economy as a whole in recent years.
"Our message remains simple, clear and consistent: unleash hospitality's potential and it will unleash Britain's potential. With the right stable and supportive tax and regulatory framework we can boost employment, skills and career opportunities, secure investment in regeneration and unlock the value of our social capital to unleash Britain's global potential."