Sector awaits energy help from new PM

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Government change: new Prime Minister Liz Truss is set to reveal a raft of measures, which will include support for businesses amid the energy crisis (image: Getty/Andy Andrews)
Government change: new Prime Minister Liz Truss is set to reveal a raft of measures, which will include support for businesses amid the energy crisis (image: Getty/Andy Andrews)

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Operators are waiting for an announcement from new Prime Minister Liz Truss to help the sector battle the ongoing energy crisis, with leaders calling for a “big, bold package of support” if hospitality is to survive the winter

In her first statement as PM, Truss delivered a speech on the steps of Downing Street, laying out her three-pronged plan.

She said: “As Prime Minister, I will pursue three early priorities. Firstly, I will get Britain working again. I have a bold plan to grow the economy through tax cuts and reform.

“I will cut taxes to reward hard work and boost business-led growth and investment. I will drive reform in my mission to get the UK working, building and growing.

“We will get spades in the ground to make sure people are not facing unaffordable energy bills and we will also make sure we are building hospitals, schools, roads and broadband.”

On the topic of utilities, Truss said this was her second early focus, promising moves in the next few days to tackle rising costs.

She added: “I will deal hands on with the energy crisis caused by Putin’s war. I will take action this week to deal with energy bills and to secure our future energy supply.”

Support needed

The new PM’s third priority was to ensure people can get doctors’ appointments NHS services they need.

While UKHospitality welcomed Truss’s statement on energy, the trade association also called for further information.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The hospitality sector needs a big, bold package​ of measures if it is to survive this winter.

“Among other support we need [is a] VAT cut to 10% and a business rates holiday for all hospitality premises, on top of a freeze on energy prices to help us in the short term.

“The Prime Minister gave a very positive vision of growth for the country. Hospitality is an aspiration sector that can power the aspiration nation she aims to deliver but we need the right support in order to deliver the growth, investment and jobs that will help achieve this.”

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said action on the energy crisis couldn’t come soon enough.

She added: “It’s right a decision that will hopefully save thousands of pubs and breweries will come this week.

“However, for the longevity of the sector, we need the PM to recognise the value and contribution of our industry to the UK.”

Essential action

McClarkin highlighted the part the sector plays to the UK economy and local communities, before outlining how the operators are still trying to recover from the pandemic.

“Immediate action on energy is critical but investment in our sector for the long term is also essential,” she said.

“As the PM works forwards a fiscal statement and full Budget, we hope she will seriously consider a cut to business rates and VAT so Britain’s pubs and brewers can get back on their feet and thrive in the communities they proudly serve.”

Both trade bodies had previously called on Truss to act immediately to save the sector​, alongside the Campaign for Real Ale and the Night-Time Industries Association when her new role was first announced.

She has also made a number of ministerial appointments including former business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Jacob Rees-Mogg as the new business secretary.

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