Government has left hospitality facing '12 days of misery'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

12 days of misery: NTIA calls on the Government for financial support for hospitality through the Omicron wave (Credit: Getty/ D-Keine)
12 days of misery: NTIA calls on the Government for financial support for hospitality through the Omicron wave (Credit: Getty/ D-Keine)

Related tags Night time economy Trade bodies Finance

The Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) has called on the Government to urgently provide hospitality businesses with financial support through the Omicron wave of the pandemic as it estimated footfall had fallen by 30% since last Thursday, and the sector had seen £4bn in additional economic damage in the last week alone.

The trade body, which has more than 1400 members, has called for a freeze of VAT at 12.5%, rather than go ahead with the planned increase to 20%, additional sector-specific grants recognising the unique burden hospitality faces and the reinstitution of furlough for first quarter of 2022.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: “It is now clear the Government have left the sector facing 12 days of Christmas misery, with no mandatory restrictions on trade but still a significant drop off, just as the Prime Minister did initially back in March 2020 before he eventually forced a lockdown.

Thousands of businesses threatened 

“Night-time businesses are particularly reliant on the festive period to get them through the rest of winter, without this, the result is a threat to the very survival of thousands of businesses and jobs.”

The Government's announcement of Plan B restrictions, which include mandatory face masks in certain settings, working from home and vaccine passports for nightclubs, has meant businesses are facing dropping revenues and more spiralling costs as the prospect of taking on even more debt looms.

An increase in cancellation is expected to have a knock-on effect in the supply chain over the most important trading period of the year, with significant effects on the wider economy probable, such as staff hours and supply orders being cut while companies try to stay afloat.

Morally wrong 

Kill added: “It is vital the Government, and in particular the Chancellor, recognise the impact of the Government’s public health messaging and swiftly implement proportionate financial support to ensure businesses and jobs are protected during this extremely challenging period.

“The Chancellor may be wary of stumping up the cash but this will be better for the economy in the long run than putting businesses at risk of failing. Night-Time Economy businesses are social hubs in the heart of communities across the UK, you simply cannot “level up” the country if a swathe of them get lost to this pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic, our members and their staff have done their bit to support the national effort, often at enormous personal and professional cost, the Government needs to hold up their end of the bargain. It is economically illiterate and morally wrong if they do not.”

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