Economy

‘Decisive financial support’ needed to save hospitality, says APPG

It comes as industry figures show that hospitality sales plummeted 54% in 2020, equivalent to £72bn

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism (APPG) is urging chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide “decisive financial support to protect sector businesses crucial to communities around the UK”.

The plea comes in a letter signed by more than 80 MPs written to Sunak ahead of this week’s Budget, with members calling for an extension to the VAT cut and the business rates holiday.

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According to the group, the UK’s tourism and hospitality sectors are both “world leaders”, but they have been “devastated by the Covid-19 crisis”. 

It comes as industry figures show that hospitality sales plummeted 54% in 2020, equivalent to £72bn, while 40% of accommodation and food service activities businesses “have no or low confidence that their businesses will survive for the next three months”.

The letter also calls on the government to extend the furlough scheme, replace the Job Retention Bonus and provide “improved loan repayment terms and HMRC tax deferrals to give businesses more breathing room to recover”.

Sally-Ann Hart MP, co-vice chair of the APPG, said: “Our hospitality and tourism sectors are some of the best in the world. They are a fantastic social as well as economic asset and we should be immensely proud of them. They have been absolutely devastated by Covid, though. 

“Despite unprecedented financial support from government, unfortunately many businesses have been lost and they have taken hundreds of thousands of jobs with them.”

Kate Nicholls, CEO UKHospitality, added: “The support of so many MPs from all parties and from the four nations of the UK emphasises just how important the hospitality and tourism sectors are – and how desperately they need the Chancellor’s help at Budget. 

“Our sectors can be the engine of recovery, rapidly creating jobs and tackling youth unemployment. The Chancellor can speed this recovery with extensions to the VAT cut and business rates holiday for the next year.”

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