UKHospitality is warning that businesses in the hospitality sector must receive further support if they are to survive the crisis and play their part in the rebuilding of the economy.
The warning follows figures published by CGA show a net decline of nearly 6,000 licensed premises in the UK.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The loss of 6,000 premises is a dreadful blow to this country’s hospitality sector, but it is going to be the tip of the iceberg if we continue on our current course.
“The sector’s outlet numbers have contracted 5% and one in five businesses say they do not have enough cash to last beyond February. The entire sector continues to be hit hard, but restaurants have arguably been hit hardest of all. Not surprisingly, many of the worst off are independent businesses teetering on the verge of collapse due, in large part, to the issue of rent debt.
“This is a stark reminder of the importance of having an exit strategy and ongoing support for businesses. Sustaining businesses, keeping them alive and keeping jobs protected is vitally important and is going to be key to recovery once we emerge from this. If we have the right support in place now, it will make the job of recovery much more achievable once we are in a position to reopen again.”
Ms Nicholls added: “The forthcoming Budget must be a one which delivers a bold, wide-ranging package of financial support to ensure as many businesses as possible are saved. The VAT cut and business rates holiday extensions must be top of the menu.”