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IN FULL: Hospitality industry’s plea to Number 10 over London trading concerns

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister and Mayor of London,

We are extremely grateful for the action you and your colleagues have taken to date to support our sector through this pandemic. We share your concern and ambition to get our economy going again on a safe and sustainable basis. Now we must work together to ensure that London is equipped to drive that recovery, for the sake of the capital and as a catalyst for the rest of the UK.

While the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has helped some central London businesses and brought welcome relief to many more businesses in outer London and beyond, there is a growing disparity between central London and the rest of the UK.

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Hospitality businesses in other parts of the UK are now taking above 70% of their pre coronavirus revenue, while in London business has been decimated – with some struggling to hit double figures in comparable trading levels. Our sector’s fortunes in the capital are inextricably linked with two income streams – office footfall and tourism.

Pre-Covid, half a million workers came to central London every day but many businesses have no immediate plans for staff to return to offices; only around 15% of them expect the majority of staff to return by the end of September. This has existential risks for businesses in hospitality and its supply chain, as well as retail, leisure and entertainments, which combined employ around 20% of Londoners.

Action to build public trust to levels that will trigger a return of safe travel into central London has become a social and economic emergency. London’s residents and workers need to be persuaded that: existing public health measures deliver a low and managed risk; public transport is safe and; their workplaces are safe. This will require a significant upturn in the delivery of clear, consistent messaging to give assurance and diminish fear.

Pre-Covid, more than 40 million overseas visitors spent close to £30bn in Britain last year, with 55% of those visitors coming to London, the world’s third most visited city. Visit Britain’s latest forecast for inbound tourism to the UK in 2020 is for a decline of 73% in visits to 11.0 million and a decline of 79% in spending from nearly £30bn to £6bn.

With 55% of inbound expenditure accruing in London, there would be a drop in revenue for London of at least £12bn in international tourism. This does not take into account the further lost revenues for aviation and ferry operators and terminals. A programme of promotions, initiatives and campaigns is desperately needed to convey to potential visitors that London is open for business, safe and welcoming.

We are keen to work collaboratively with the Government and City Hall. Only a coordinated approach that puts politics to one side and focuses on building confidence will deliver the strong and desperately needed message that London is open for Londoners, commuters and leisure visitors.

The current speed of progress in conveying that message will see businesses fail and the triggering of an economic downward spiral. We urge you to work with us on an ambitious and strategic plan of action to secure London’s future and a safe return to growth. To that end, we request that you grant us the opportunity for a round table discussion with leading operators from across our diverse sector, which UKHospitality is more than willing to facilitate.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Lilley, Abokado
Paul Wigham, All Our Bars
Andrew Botting, Artizian Catering
Steve Holmes, Azzurri
Wendy Bartlett MBE, Bartlett Mitchell
Murray Roberts, Beds & Bars
Rob Paterson, Best Western Hotels GB
Andrew Selley, Bidfood
Robert Wilson, Bleeding Heart Restaurant
Ruston Toms, Blue Apple Catering
Emma English, British Educational Travel Association (BETA)
Alasdair Murdoch, Burger King
Gerry Ford, Caffè Nero
Scott Matthews, CG Restaurants
Tim Jones, CH&Co
Bill Toner, CH&Co
Eddie Holmes, Chop’d
Kyle Haughton, City Cruises
Edward Plunket, City of London Club
Hasita Senanayake, City University Club
John D’ell Ross, Como Star Ltd
Robin Mills, Compass Group UK & Ireland
Matthew Sims, Croydon BID
David Loewi, D&D London
Jillian MacLean MBE, Drake & Morgan
Olivia Byrne, Eccleston Square Hotel
Inderneel Singh, Edwardian Hotels London
Catherine Roe, Elior
Tom Jenkins, European Tourism Association
Craig Beaumont, FSB
Simon Emeny, Fuller, Smith and Turner PLC
Martin Williams, Gaucho Restaurants
Serena von der Heyde, Georgian House Hotel
Peter Salussolia OBE, Glendola Leisure Group
Alex Salussolia, Glendola Leisure Group
Mikesh Palan, Golden Tours
Tim O’Neil, Graysons
Sir Francis Mackay, Graysons
Nick Mackenzie, Greene King
Geoffrey Harrison, Harrison Catering
Karan Khanna, IHG
Lawrence Hartley, Joe Allen
Katie Blake, Kallaway
Gavin George, Laine Pub Company
Julio Marques, London Bridge Hotel
John Dickie, London First
Andy Lewis-Platt, Market Halls
Ronny A. Maier, Marriott Hotels UK
Liam Brown, Marriott International
Clive Harrington, Millenium Hotels
Chris Hopkins, Mitchells & Butlers
Bob Ivell, Mitchells & Butlers
Mark Mossimann, Mossimann
Ranjit Mathrani, MW Eat Ltd
James Breslaw, Neds Noodle Bar
Jace Tyrell, New West End Company
Robert Robinson, Notes
Alistair Telfer, Oxford & Cambridge Club
Richard Lee, Pandox
Andrew Taylor, Parliament Bars
Jens Hofma, Pizza Hut Restaurants UK Ltd
Zoe Bowley, PizzaExpress
Stefano Ispani, Ponti’s
Clive Chesser, Punch Pubs
Spencer Craig, Pure
Rob Pitcher, Revolution Bars Group
Jamie Robertson, Roasting Plant
Gavin Adair, Rosa’s Thai Café
Miles Wade CBE, Royal Automobile Club
Daniel Pereira, Royal Automobile Club
Dr Annette Prandzioch, Royal Over-Seas League
Chris Bray, Sodexo UK & Ireland
Govert Deketh, South Bank Business Improvement District
Nic Durnston, South Bank Employers’ Group
Trevor Gulliver, St. John Restaurant Group
Simon Longbottom, Stonegate Pub Company
Robert Cook, TGI Fridays
James Spragg, The Big Table Group
Andrew Kwok, The Good Earth Group
Simon Thomas, The Hippodrome Casino
Yassen Yankov, The In & Out Club
Robert Gabriele, The Melita, London
Fergal Crossan, The Penn Club
Howard McBrien, The Penn Club
Brandon Stephens, Tortilla
Kurt Janson, Tourism Alliance
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality
Simon Atkins, Union Jack Club
Phil Roker, Vacherin
Mark Selby, Wahaca
Henry Birts, Wasabi
Phil Birbeck, Whitbread Restaurants
Tom Woods, Woods Silver Fleet

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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