Figures published by the Office for National Statistics highlight the economic importance of the hospitality sector and reinforce calls for it to be supported and central to the government’s reopening plans.
Estimates for November show UK GDP falling by 2.6%, with hospitality, which was effectively closed in England during the month, accounting for just over one-third (0.9%) of the decline.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “This morning’s GDP figures make for pretty depressing, if not surprising, reading. What is noticeable is that hospitality, a sector that was effectively closed down across England, in November, is responsible for just over one-third of the decline.
“This really hammers home how important our sector is to the economy. When we were open, albeit with restrictions, in the summer, our return to growth contributed to the economy growing. The figures highlight our power as an economic driver and show why we should be at the heart of plans to revitalise the economy.”
Ms Nicholls said hospitality must be prioritised once vaccines have been rolled out to the vulnerable and an exit strategy has been determined.
“We need to be supported properly if we are expected to power economic growth and spearhead the country’s revival. The level of support has to reflect the hit that the sector has taken and ensure those hardest hit receive the proper help they need.”
Meanwhile, UKHospitality said it also welcomed news that the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of insurers paying out to small firms over business interruption claims.
Ms Nicholls said it was only right that insurers honour claims from businesses which took out policies in good faith.
“Should this result in pay-outs to policy holders – a point which is still not clear at present – this could provide an additional lifeline that many businesses desperately need. It could be the difference between keeping staff members on or being forced to let them go; it could mean the survival of a business that was previously staring collapse in the face.”