This comes after calls from the sector asked where the Chancellor was in light of booking cancellations across the sector, meaning businesses are losing vital revenue during a crucial trading period.
Last night (Thursday 16 December), he tweeted: “I understand this is a very concerning time for businesses up and down the country.
“My team and I held meetings with the hospitality sector earlier today. We’re listening to their concerns and will continue to work with them over the coming days.”
However, he went on to say following conversations with sector leaders, there is existing support in place for the trade.
In a video published a short while later, Sunak said: “I appreciate it is a difficult time for the hospitality industry.
“That’s why, I was on the phone, earlier today, with various industry leaders for the hospitality space, and the good news, I would say is there are existing support measures in place to help the industry.
“For example, until spring of next year, most businesses in the hospitality industry are only paying a quarter of their normal business rates bill.
“They are benefitting from a reduced rate of VAT all the way through to next spring.
“Thirdly, there is about a quarter of a billion pounds of cash sitting with local authorities that has been provided by the Government to support those businesses that need it.
“My immediate priority is to make sure that money gets to those businesses as quickly as possible.”
Daily deteriorating situation
Many voices from the sector have called upon the Government following the wave of booking cancellations after the work from home message and Plan B was announced last week.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls tweeted: “The hospitality sector is facing a daily deteriorating situation as bad as anything faced before in this pandemic.
“We need to see additional support; emergency cash grants to support jobs; additional rate relief for Q1; extend 12.5% VAT to boost demand and secure investment.”
The situation is dire and worsening on a daily basis as sales slump, losses mount and bills start to have to be paid on minimal revenue. There is a need for urgency, pace and scale to reset the current mismatch between health policy, consumer confidence and economic reality— Kate Nicholls (@UKHospKate) December 17, 2021
This follows data from Wireless Social, which revealed footfall had dropped by more than a third in the early part of this week, compared to the same period in 2019.