'Avoid the bleakest of winters' 100 hospo bosses urge PM

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Punch Admiral Bbpa ukhospitality coronavirus

Some 100 hospitality business leaders including pubco bosses have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to support the sector financially.

If support does not come, the open letter states, then the sector will likely face the bleakest winter yet.

The letter read:

Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street


29 September 2020



Dear Prime Minister

We write to you today as a collective of businesses from across the hospitality sector, from multinational operators to representatives of individual sites, as the realities of last week’s announcement now become clear. We are committed to working with the Government in the fight to keep COVID-19 under control and demonstrating our businesses are safe places for customers to visit. Quite simply, though, we need additional and urgent support in order to survive this bleakest of winters. Businesses are at risk of failure and hundreds of thousands of viable jobs will be lost without Government action.

Hospitality is a major driver of economic activity in the UK, supporting more than three million jobs during 2019 and tens of thousands of small, medium and large businesses in every corner of the country. They are integral to Britain’s tourism offer. Our sector has been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic and many businesses have already sadly closed forever, with the remainder fighting for survival. For tens of thousands of small pub business operators, these are their homes as well as their livelihoods. Even prior to this week, one half of hospitality businesses did not believe they would survive beyond the middle of next year. Many have not even yet had the chance to re-open, such as nightclubs and the events sector.

The latest restrictions have made this fight to survive even harder. Town and city centre businesses - re-opened as people were urged to return to offices - will now be shut down. Across the country, the 10pm curfew has removed key trading hours for all of us vital to our survival, removing whole shifts from food-led businesses. It has created pinch points for public transport and large groups congregating elsewhere in a manner likely to increase COVID-related health risks.   

The sector has invested tens of millions of pounds in protective equipment for staff, perspex shields, enhanced cleaning regimes as well as new technology solutions to create entirely safe Covid-secure environments, yet trade is already being decimated as more consumers stay away whilst costs continue to rise.  On top of this, we are experiencing further restrictions for already Covid-Secure venues, which dismays operators as yet more restrictions are applied to their businesses. We are not opposed to restrictions that can tackle the spread of the virus but a pragmatic and flexible approach has to be adopted by both central and local Government. A commitment must be made to review the appropriateness of all these measures at least every three weeks. The 10pm curfew should be removed if demonstrably not working as intended or adjusted to provide for gradual dispersal and avoid the unintended consequences for the wider sector including cultural activities now impacted.

If we are to have businesses to rebuild once the winter months are over that will lead the economic and employment recovery, we now need urgent Government support. Sector-specific restrictions deserve sector-specific support. However, the package announced by the Chancellor does not go nearly far enough for our imperiled sector. The Job Support Scheme, as it stands, regrettably does not provide us with the necessary tools to stave off hundreds of thousands of redundancies of otherwise viable jobs that are now taking place on an unprecedented scale. The simple truth is that without an immediate review of the support on offer to pubs, restaurants and wider hospitality businesses, many will be lost for years to come. The damage to communities will be immeasurable, long-term, and ultimately extremely costly for Government.

In the immediate term, the employer contributions need to be removed for the hospitality sector and a new package of grant funding for businesses that face restrictions brought forward. To plan for a future beyond the winter, the VAT cut and business rates holiday must also be extended through 2021 and beer duty cut.

We would ask you to intervene as a matter of urgency and as a first step convene a meeting of sector leaders to help draw up a support package that will prevent the devastating damage that is drawing ever closer.


Yours sincerely

Signed and supported by the following businesses and business leaders:

Admiral Taverns

Chris Jowsey


Andy Wood

All Our Bars

Paul Wigham

Anglian Country Inns Ltd

James Nye

Arkell’s Brewery

George Arkell

Artizian Catering

Andrew Botting

Asahi UK

Tim Clay

Azzurri Group

Steve Holmes


Paul Kelly

Bartlett Mitchell

Wendy Bartlett MBE

Baxter Storey

John Bennett

Big Table Group

James Spragg

Bill Toner

CH&Co Group

Black Sheep Brewery

Andy Slee

Brakspear Pub Company

Tom Davies

Brasserie Bar Co

Mark Derry

British Beer and Pub Association

Emma McClarkin

British Institute of Innkeeping

Steve Alton

Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I

Paula Lindenberg

Budweiser Budvar UK

Simon George

Burger King

Alasdair Murdoch

C&C Group

Andrea Pozzi

Caffè Nero

Gerry Ford

Caledonian Heritable

Graeme Arnott

Camerons Brewing

Chris Soley

Carlsberg UK

Tomasz Blawat

D&D London

David Loewi

D&D London

Des Gunewardena

Daleside Brewery

Eric Lucas

Daniel Batham & Son

Tim Batham

Daniel Thwaites

Richard Bailey

Deltic Group

Peter Marks

Everards Brewery

Stephen Gould

Frederic Robinsons

William Robinson

Fuller, Smith and Turner

Simon Emeny

GC Mallen

Garry Mallen

George Bateman & Son

Jaclyn Bateman

Glendola Leisure Group

Alex Salussolia

Gray & Sons

Nicola Kitchener

Graysons Hospitality Ltd

Sir Francis Mackay

Graysons Hospitality Ltd

Tim O’Neill

Greene King

Nick Mackenzie

Hall & Woodhouse

Matthew Kearsey

Harvey & Son Brewery

Hamish Elder

Harviestoun Brewery

Simon Amor


Nick Tucker

Heineken UK

Simon Amor

Hogs Back Brewery

Rupert Thompson

Holden’s Brewery

Jonathan Holden

Honest Burgers

Gary Mann

Hook Norton Brewery Co

James Clarke

Houston & Hawkes

Simon Houston

Hydes Brewery

Adam Mayers

Innis & Gunn

Crawford Sinclair

J.W. Lees & Co

William Lees-Jones

JD Wetherspoon

John Hutson

Joseph Holt

Richard Kershaw

Legacy Hotels

Andy Townsend

Liberation Group

Jonathan Lawson

Loch Melfort Hotel

Calum Ross


Ralph Findlay

McMullen & Son

Tom McMullen

Mitchells & Butlers

Phil Urban

Molson Coors

Phil Whitehead


Ken McMeikan

New River Retail

Mark Davies

Oakman Inns

Peter Borg-Neal


John Palmer

Parkdean Resorts

Steve Richards

Pizza Hut Restaurants

Jens Hofma


Zoe Bowley


Karen Jones

Punch Pubs & Co

Clive Chesser


Rob Pitcher

Rock Point Leisure

Dan Davies

Rosa's Thai Café

Gavin Adair

S.A. Brain & Co

Alistair Darby

Scottish Tourism Alliance

Marc Crothall

Shepherd Neame

Jonathan Neame


David Mulcahy

St Brides Spa Hotel

Andrew Evans

St. Austell Brewery

Kevin Georgel


Andreas Karlsson

Stonegate Pub Company

Simon Longbottom

T&R Theakston

Simon Theakston

The Genuine Dining Co.

Chris Mitchell

The Pub People Company

Kevin Sammons

Thomas Hardy Brewing and Packaging

Chris Ward

Thorley Taverns

Phil Thorley

Thurlestone Hotel

Tim Hassell

CH&Co Group

Tim Jones

Timothy Taylor’s & Co

Tim Dewey

Titanic Brewery

Keith Bott


Brandon Stephens

Tourism Alliance

Kurt Janson

TriSpan LLP

Robin Rowland OBE

Trust Inns

Mark Brown


Kate Nicholls


Phil Roker

Wadworth & Co

Chris Welham

Wells & Co

Paul Wells

Whiting & Hammond Ltd

Brian Whiting

Woodforde’s Brewery

Joe Parks

Young's & Co

Patrick Dardis

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