Leading hospitality associations UKH and BBPA have “expressed relief” at “some elements” of the chancellor’s new Winter Economy Plan but added they are concerned jobs remain “at serious risk.”
The new “Job Support Scheme” announced yesterday follows the “devastating” additional restrictions for the hospitality sector revealed earlier in the week.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls stressed that the new curfew and mask rules for hospitality settings meant “it was crucial that the Chancellor delivered support” to specifically target the sector “which has been hit harder than any.”
Sunak’s new scheme aims to retain “viable jobs”, with the government offering to pay a third of the wages of workers alongside employers, provided they work at least a third of their normal hours.
However, reacting to the announcement Nicholls said the industries “need government to go further in hospitality, recognising the greater restrictions imposed upon us, and pick up the full cost of unworked hours.”
She said: “While some of these measures announced today will give businesses a future to shoot for, and hope that they can begin to rebuild, we are still not out of the woods.”
UKH was joined by BBPA in welcoming the extension of the VAT cut, saying they had “pushed hard” and made “urgent calls” for it in recent weeks.
Despite the cut Emma McClarkin, chief executive of BBPA, added that the chancellor has “missed a golden opportunity” by not extending the VAT cut to include alcohol.
McClarkin stressed that the March 2021 termination of business rates relief for pubs “could prove fatal”.
She said that come March, pubs will be faced with a £25,000 average fee, totalling £800 million for the sector, warning that this could become “the final straw for many pubs.”