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Further lockdowns must come with full package of financial support

Pub and hospitality trade bodies UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping have written to the Chancellor and the Health Secretary, urging the Government to ensure that any new lockdown measures are targeted, proportional and are accompanied by a credible financial support package. The request comes following the announcement of closures and restrictions in Scotland and ahead of anticipated lockdowns in the North of England.

In the letter, the trade bodies have reiterated their support for the Government’s approach to public health and have highlighted the efforts made by hospitality businesses to ensure their venues are secure. The letter also highlights the disproportionately small number of COVID cases linked to hospitality.

The trade bodies support the introduction of a tiered system of restrictions, provided they are targeted, proportionate and implemented on a regional basis. The criteria for different tiers must be communicated to businesses and consumers clearly and the bodies encourage the Government to engage with them to ensure the measures are practical.

Crucially, any further restrictions or lockdowns must come with immediate financial support, supplemented by measures to support revival in 2021.

The trade bodies have recommended:

  • A grant of 5% of the rateable value per week, uninhibited by State Aid rules or rateable value caps. This percentage could be lower for less severe restrictions
  • Amendment of the Job Support Scheme to allow a reduced minimum number of hours worked for businesses under restrictions – for closed businesses this should be 0%, rising to 20% for mid-level restricted businesses
  • Extension of the business rates holiday through 2021/22 with VAT remaining at 5% throughout 2021
  • Support on the issue of unpaid rent – extension of current protections and Government engagement with industry on innovative solutions to bring landlords and tenants together to find a solution.

In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “The cumulative effect of restrictions is already being felt by businesses and a tightening of those restrictions could be fatal if not done correctly. It is crucial that any further restrictions or lockdowns are implemented so as to allow businesses to survive and then rebuild afterwards.

“We are totally supportive of a tiered approach, implemented locally, which will put the health of the public first, but will also enable our sector, which has been devastated, to survive.

“If the Government decides to implement this tiered strategy, it is vital that the terms of the new system are communicated clearly and quickly. We hope that the Government will also engage with us to ensure that any restrictions are proportionate, effective and avoid the potential for further business failures.

“Central to this working will be a comprehensive package of financial support to ensure that businesses survive and jobs kept secure. Our sector has been hit hardest of all by this crisis and we desperately want to avoid further catastrophe, while making sure public safety remains the priority.”

View the letter here.

ENDS


Press release from UKHospitality, BBPA & BII

UKHospitality
UKHospitality is the trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, representing over 700 companies, operating around 70,000 venues in a sector that employs 3.2 million people.

The body speaks on behalf of a wide range of leisure and ‘out-of-home’ businesses, from FTSE 100 enterprises to niche groups and independent single-site operators – covering pubs, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, contract catering, leisure parks, visitor attractions and coffee shops.

For further information, please contact:

Chris Banks, PR Manager, cbanks@ukhospitality.org.uk, 020 7404 7744

British Beer & Pub Association
The British Beer & Pub Association is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies. The Association is more than a century old and was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Our members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain today, and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.

For further information, please contact:

Nick Lawrie, Digital Communications Manager: nlawrie@beerandpub.com, 07824 359 013

About the British Institute of Innkeeping:

The BII is the leading independent licensee support organisation for individuals working in hospitality, with over 9,000 individual members running premises across the UK – predominantly tenanted, leased, managed and freehold pubs. The organisation provides expert helplines, online business support, and guidance on key industry issues, face-to-face networking opportunities and savings on a range of expert suppliers and key services for its members.

For further information, please contact:

Molly Davis, Head of Communications: molly.davis@bii.org, 01276 417817

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