Pubco bosses call on Chancellor to aid 'sustainable recovery'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lockdown support: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been urged to help businesses
Lockdown support: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been urged to help businesses

Related tags: lockdown, Coronavirus, England, Beer, Greene king, Stonegate

More than 160 CEOs from across the hospitality sector have signed a letter to the Chancellor pleading for further support from the upcoming Budget.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is to outline his Budget on 3 March, with pub company bosses eager to see measures such as the reduced VAT rate and business rates holiday extended beyond the spring.

Pubs and restaurants helped the country recover from the financial crisis in 2008 and can help the country “bounce back” from the coronavirus “in a safe and responsible way," CEOs said.

"As representatives of leading businesses in the hospitality sector we want to play our role in our nation’s economic revival," the letter said.

The reduction of VAT for hospitality tourism was “a practical and helpful way to allow companies like ours to invest in safeguarding the futures of our business and the jobs of our employees.”

However, businesses have been closed for a large proportion of this time, with the measure set to expire at the end of March.

The VAT cut must be expanded to the end of the tax year and to products presently excluded, including on-premise alcohol sales, bosses urged.

This would help to avoid passing on “substantial” price rises to customers and boost employment among 16-24 year olds, those hardest hit by the pandemic’s economic fall out, the letter said.

Grossly unfair

A holiday on business rates must be extended for another year to help the sector secure a "sustainable recovery.”

The letter stated: “The ravages of the pandemic mean that the rateable values upon which business rates are factored, are now significantly out of kilter with actual property values, so it would be grossly unfair to apply this tax as it stands.”

Other measures called for include deferring Government-owed debt, replacing the Job Retention Bonus with a new retention mechanism and extending the furlough scheme.

The letter was signed by bosses from an array of pub companies including Greene King, JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate Pub Companies.

Related topics: Legislation

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