The call for support comes after consumer confidence plummeted causing mass cancellations following the Governments advice to limit social interactions while leaving pubs open, despite the Chancellor stating there were adequate “existing measures” for hospitality.
Croydon BID CEO Matthew Sims said: “It is baffling and alarming our Chancellor is doggedly sticking to measures which are out of date and out of touch with the stark and desperate reality retail, hospitality and leisure businesses are facing.”
The letter explained current business rates relief of 25% wasn’t working as businesses are now paying full rent while experiencing mass cancellations in what has been dubbed by the sector as a “stealth lockdown” and called for 100% business rates relief for the first three months of 2022 followed by a 50% business rates relief from 1 April 2022 through to 30 June 2022.
Critical trading period in tatters
Addressed to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, the letter said: “The critical Christmas trading period is in tatters leaving businesses, particularly those within the hospitality, retail and leisure sector teetering on the brink of financial ruin and set to lose £4bn in sales.
“While we appreciate risks to health due to the Omicron variant, we cannot and should not forget the businesses who have had all but been shut down and want to continue trading safely.
“In addition to the measures recommended, we are seriously concerned the freelance and self-employed community which upends the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors have so far during the pandemic been largely overlooked, we therefore propose the introduction of a Discretionary Grant Fund of up to £7,500 per claim that will ensure this community is appropriately supported.
“We would urge you, your Government, MPs from all sides of the aisle to carefully consider the impact and potential loss to the economy if no action is taken to prevent the crisis, we now all face economically.
Vital for economic recovery
Furthermore, the letter stated hospitality was a vital sector for economic recovery as the UK’s third largest sector, which employed 3.2m people (10% of the UK workforce) and produced £130bn of economic activity.
Sims added: “Without swift intervention, many businesses will be faced with closures, layoffs and cutbacks making the significant financial support Government has ploughed into these sectors during the pandemic a woeful waste of money.”