Further Gov support critical to sector’s survival

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Urgent request: Trade body leaders call on Chancellor for more help (Getty/ Martin Barraud)
Urgent request: Trade body leaders call on Chancellor for more help (Getty/ Martin Barraud)

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Trade body leaders have written to the Chancellor following the mini-budget last week, highlighting the urgent need for further support to safeguard hospitality businesses.

In the letter to Kwasi Kwarteng, representatives from across the sector thanked the Chancellor for his support following the business energy price guarantee, as well as his recognition that energy was not the only challenge to growth.

They also recognised the positive approach he planned to take to reduce the burden of excessive business regulations and welcomed the freeze to alcohol duties.

However, they warned these measures were not enough to protect the industry’s future. The statement read: “While the announcements made in the mini-budget will go some way to supporting our sector, the stark reality for many businesses is that they will still be facing energy costs of at least double those of 2021."

Threatened survival

It continued: “At a time where crippling inflationary pressures across all areas of their businesses are already threatening their survival, this is not sustainable.

“Targeted support for hospitality businesses at the heart of their communities in villages, towns, cities and high streets across the UK will now be critical to ensure they can play a key role in the Government’s growth and levelling up agenda.”

The leaders called for a plan of wide-ranging support that could be implicated for more than six months to allow businesses time to plan for their futures.

They said: “The current uncertainty facing hospitality businesses is a huge barrier to growth and the immediate support we are calling for will give many the breathing space they need to ensure their survival past this winter.”

Messy business

Operators have complained about the mini-budget, with one stating​ Kwarteng’s announcements had no effect on small businesses but made sure the “big boys” of the industry did “very nicely”.

Licensee of the Faulkland Inn,​ Radstock, Andy Machen, said the proposed reduction in electricity costs alone would not be sufficient help for small businesses, and in particular, rural pubs.

He added: “We were all waiting for something that would make a financial difference to running a public house and what we got was a reduction in our electricity.

“Heating oil has more than doubled in price, bottled gas has more than doubled in price, even cooking oil has more than doubled in price.

“Anything that costs us has increased in price. We needed something financial, as opposed to a steadying of electricity.

“Giving us a fixed price on electricity just doesn't help, it doesn't cut the mustard. The whole thing is a mess.”

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