Lockdown easing uncertainty has 'impacted momentum'

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Unlocking calls: three trade bodies have told the Chancellor a roadmap delay would mean 'business failures and job losses in every community across the UK.' (image: PhotoLondonUK/Getty)
Unlocking calls: three trade bodies have told the Chancellor a roadmap delay would mean 'business failures and job losses in every community across the UK.' (image: PhotoLondonUK/Getty)

Related tags: lockdown, Legislation, Business rates, British beer & pub association, British institute of innkeeping, ukhospitality

A trio of trade bodies representing publicans and brewers have written to the Chancellor and business secretary urging clarity and support.

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and UKHospitality (UKH) said uncertainty over the roadmap had “impacted momentum in confidence, trade and employment".

Doubts have been cast over the fourth and final lockdown easing step, earmarked for Monday 21 June, after a new Delta variant of the virus has spread across the country.

The trade bodies asked Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng for early confirmation that all trading restrictions on venues would be lifted this month.

Heart of recovery

They also called for a full extension of the business rates holiday until April 2022 with no caps, in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Additional support would ensure the sector was “at the heart of the economic recovery,” the letter surmised. 

In the letter, the trade bodies said: “We have not built the resilience as expected creating further fragility for trading businesses and we clearly do not expect this to change until at least the 14 June. 

“This uncertainty is also exacerbating workforce challenges around reopening as workers are not confident that we are a stable sector for careers.”

This lack of confidence came hand in hand with operators’ facing significant staffing costs in order to comply with Covid trading rules. 

One in four pub and brewing businesses, around 26,500 venues, remain closed due to legal restrictions, the trade bodies estimated. 

Job losses

Venues that have been able to open were delivering venues at 63% of pre-pandemic levels, they added.

A spokesperson for the trade associations said: “The Government is assessing potential risks around removing all restrictions on the 21st June and we urge them to follow their own roadmap, if the data supports it, and to allow the hospitality and pub sector to open free of restrictions.

“We urge them to fully consider the significant risk that a delay would result in business failures and job losses in every community across the UK.

"Our members’ businesses are extremely fragile and only the dropping of restrictions and the extension of the business rates holiday in England until April 2022, will enable them to snap back at the heart of the economic recovery.”

Ministers are expected to make a decision on 14 June, one week prior to a potential change of lockdown rules, after examining data on the Delta variant.

Related topics: Legislation

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