Campaigners to stage third protest to save sector

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Third protest: hospitality sector representatives will make their demands clear to the Government
Third protest: hospitality sector representatives will make their demands clear to the Government

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The hospitality sector will unite for a third time to make demands from the Government to stop the industry from collapse.

Campaigners forming HospoDemo will return to Parliament Square at 11am on Monday 14 November to ‘clang the tools of their trade’ and plead for a VAT reduction to 10% on food and drink sales, including alcohol sales; the reinstatement of the business rates holiday; and introduce a visa scheme to allow overseas workers to work in the sector again.

This will be the third HospoDemo demonstration within two years that brings together people from pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels and cafés. They will be dressed in work uniform, equipped with pots, pans, ladles, cocktail shakers, wooden spoons, last orders bells and other hospitality-related tools to make themselves heard.

At 11am, all protestors will turn to face the Houses of Parliament and make as much noise as possible to ensure the sound resonates within the building, before marching on to HM Treasury to do the same.

Support from Kerridge 

The HospoDemo protest is supported by gastropub owner Tom Kerridge, who said: “The situation hospitality businesses are facing now is nothing short of a nightmare.

“I fully support HospoDemo in their efforts to make the Government accountable by urging them to make policy changes such as a 10% VAT reduction, a business rates holiday and an overseas worker visa system. The question is, how many more hospitality businesses need to fail before the Government takes action and gives our sector proper support?”

Members of the HospoDemo advisory panel have had their say on the situation.

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser, Greater Manchester, said: “As a sector, we came together over the past few months and unified our calling on the Government. We don’t need handouts – we need a reduction in VAT and business rates relief.

“It is now clear to me, that not only do the Government not care about the third biggest sector in the UK, they are quite happy to sit back and watch it collapse. If they will not listen to us, we have no alternative but to make them listen. This is businesses, jobs and lives we are fighting for.”

Immeasurable damage

Meanwhile Night-Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill added the hospitality and night-time economy sectors have suffered immeasurable damage over the past four years with the current crisis putting three out of four businesses at risk of closure, which means hundreds of thousands of jobs are at risk too.

He continued: “[This crisis will have] wasted billions in public funding that supported them during the lockdowns. The fiscal intervention announced by the Government did nothing to stem the current crisis, clearly ignoring industry demands of VAT and business rates relief.

“This has resulted in anger and frustration across the sector reaching boiling point, leaving an entire industry feeling that it is being wilfully neglected to the point of collapse, with no alternative but to take direct action.”


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