Sunak says ‘there are existing support measures in place’

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Government aid: the Chancellor has been facing calls to provide further support for the industry (image: Andrew Parsons, No 10 Downing Street, Flickr)
Government aid: the Chancellor has been facing calls to provide further support for the industry (image: Andrew Parsons, No 10 Downing Street, Flickr)

Related tags: Legislation, Finance, Rishi Sunak, Government

Chancellor Rishi Sunak reiterated that there are “existing support measures” for the hospitality sector.

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.

Immediate priority

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.”

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.

Related topics: Legislation

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