UKH welcomes ‘positive’ Budget speech but urges Gov to ‘go further’

The hospitality group called for further support following the chancellor’s announcement

UK Hospitality has said yesterday’s (27 October) announcements by the chancellor in his Budget speech are a positive step but also urged the government to “go further” to support the “fragile” industry.

It comes after Rishi Sunak unveiled a 50% discount on business rates for the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors (up to £110,000), equating to a business tax cut worth £1.7bn, the biggest single-year rates cut for firms in over 30 years.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “We have been lobbying hard for significant reform of the outdated business rates system and therefore very much welcome the chancellor’s move today to extend the 50% business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector for the next financial year. The devil will be in the detail, though, so we look forward to learning to what extent it will benefit businesses.

“The chancellor’s announcements simplifying – and in many cases reducing – alcohol duties, are great news for pubs, bars and restaurants, and will benefit all. The chancellor has shown real innovation and creativity in reforming an archaic system of duty, which we applaud.
The most effective way to achieve this would be to maintain the current lower 12.5% of VAT for the sector.”

She added: “The Chancellor has been bold and radical with alcohol duty – we urge him to adopt the same approach when implementing root and branch reform of business rates, to ensure industries share the burden equally.

“Hospitality has shown this summer that it has the potential to kickstart the nation’s recovery and deliver jobs, growth and investment at pace across all parts of the country but that could grind to a halt next year. It can only lead to recovery with the right measures of support in place.”

Meanwhile, UK Hospitality Scotland has responded to the chancellor’s budget by urging the Scottish Government to also extend business rate relief.

UK Hospitality Scotland’s executive director, Leon Thompson, said: “Today’s Budget Statement from the Chancellor made clear the commitment to provide a 50% discount rate to businesses in the coming financial year.

“Hospitality businesses have benefitted from two years of 100% relief on business rates from the Scottish Government, but face a cliff edge from 1 April 2022 if relief is not continued. Today the Chancellor has declared his support for business and the Scottish Government must at least match this if hospitality businesses across Scotland are not to face further financial difficulty and possible closure.”

He added: “Our businesses are at the heart of communities. They remain in a fragile state and need a commitment from the Scottish Government that they can look forward to the same support as their counterparts in England.”

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