No time to sit on our hands

By Ed Bedington contact

- Last updated on GMT

Are pubs fighting for support?

Related tags: Government, Coronavirus, lockdown, Legislation, Business rates, Vat, Vat cut

And so, with screaming tyres and a whiff of burning (or is that hypocrisy), the Government has yanked on the handbrake and skidded us 180 degrees out of the pandemic.

All the restrictions and impositions that were placed on our sector have fallen away and we find ourselves once again in a land of freedom and opportunity, well, for about five minutes until Russia invaded Ukraine.

So we find our sector and the world lurching from crisis to crisis, it has been interesting to see the intense focus on covid seemingly dropped like a hot stone by the media as they turn to report on the horrors in Eastern Europe.

Certainly, the end to restrictions is to be welcomed across the hospitality sector, but the decision by Government to end the self-isolation requirement does leave businesses in a slightly grey situation - you now have to figure out the best course of action for your business, your staff, and your customers yourself should anyone test positive.

And with customers free to do whatever they want, are we now in a covid-free-for-all? It’s going to take some time for us to figure out the right ways to deal with the situation.

And while we’re doing that, war looms on the horizon, leading to yet further increases in energy costs for a sector that’s already seen prices spiral.

That’s before we see the knock on effects on the costs of certain supplies as well.

Gloomy outlook

Despite the rather gloomy outlook, I remain convinced that we belong to an innovative and hardy sector that will do everything within its power to trade its way out of whatever crisis is hurled at us.

That said, support from Government would be nice, and I would urge all of you in the sector to add your voices to the others calling for reform of VAT and Business Rates. For me, the response to calls from the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s investigation into Business Rates was disappointing to see. While the quality of the responses was strong, the volume, given the amount of operators affected by business rates could have been better.

This sector has been calling for such reform for years, and I would have expected the mail bags to be bulging far more at the APPBG’s offices. 

We can’t afford to sit on our hands and think “someone else will have done it” - we all need to agitate now and loudly. 

So write to your MP - you can use this link from UK Hospitality: https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/WritetoyourMP​ and get our voices heard.

Related topics: Legislation

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