Hospitality leaders call for ‘urgent action’ in Autumn Statement

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Urgent message: Hospitality calls for help in the Autumn Statement (Credit: Getty/kyoshino)
Urgent message: Hospitality calls for help in the Autumn Statement (Credit: Getty/kyoshino)

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Publicans, chefs and pubcos are among those who have signed an open letter calling or 'urgent action' ahead of this month’s Autumn Statement.

The letter, spearheaded by UKHospitality (UKH), is addressed to the chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt.

It calls for continued support as the sector faces the potential of an added £1bn business rates bill next April, unless the chancellor freezes business rates and extends the current relief package at the Autumn Statement.

The letter also calls for longer-term structural reform of the apprenticeship levy, of VAT and a broader overhaul of business rates. It says this would help to equip the hospitality sector to drive economic growth, help slow inflation, increase social mobility and get many more people into work.

Michelin-starred chefs and publicans including Tom Kerridge, Tom Aikens, Monica Galetti and Jodie Kidd are among those who have signed the letter.

Battered sector

More than 230 companies have also signed, including Fuller’s, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers.

The open letter states: “The most important step at this stage is to avoid an increase in business rates. The sector faces a near £1 billion tax hike from April 2024.

“We urge you to freeze the business rates multiplier, extend the 75% hospitality relief and extend the cap to at least £2 million. Business rates support can cushion the sector from these costs while allowing us to invest – in our people and our places.”

Tom Kerridge, chief executive of The Tom Kerridge Group, said: “The hospitality industry has taken a battering in recent years, yet pubs, bars and restaurants all across the nation continue to go above and beyond to provide memorable and outstanding experiences to everyone that comes through the door."

'Time is running out'

He added: “As an industry this is what we love to do. The stark reality for many businesses, however, is that with rising costs and ongoing challenges time is running out and without further support from Government they will shut their doors. That’s why I fully support the calls being made by UKH to the chancellor in this letter.”

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said it is imperative the Chancellor listens to the sector’s collective calls for support and takes clear action at the Autumn Statement to extend the current relief measures for a further year to protect the vital community assets that make up the UK’s vibrant hospitality sector.

She added: “Hospitality is at the heart of our communities and it’s essential we do all we can to protect businesses in the sector and the value they bring, from driving economic growth to creating jobs.”

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