Trade body UKHospitality has reacted to yesterday’s budget statement by welcoming support for hospitality businesses and calling on the government to follow-up with continued dialogue and backing for hardworking businesses.
Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged to cut business rates by a third for two years for shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes in England with a rateable value of £51,000 and under. This could amount to an annual saving of up to £8,000 for as much as 90% of all independent shops, pubs and restaurants.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls described it as a “positive” Budget for hospitality, which recognises and acknowledges its core campaigns around employment costs, business rates and digital paying its fair share.
She estimates the measures announced in the Budget as a result of its campaigns are likely to save the trade £750m.
“Hospitality businesses have been devastated by spiralling business rates costs, so steps to address this are welcome. UKHospitality has exhaustively campaigned for support for the sector on business rates, so it positive to see the government listening.
“Cutting bills for smaller businesses by a third will provide some much-needed support and is a positive move by the government. This, along with the introduction of a new tax on digital businesses, to ensure they pay their fair share, needs to be a springboard for further businesses rates reform.
“The funds raised by this new tax should be used to ease the unfair tax burdens being shouldered by hospitality businesses to help stop the continued devastation of high streets. If the Government is serious about updating the rates system then we still need to see a thorough, root and branch reform of the whole system to ensure it is fair and fit for purpose in the 21st century.
“Reducing the cost of apprenticeships for SMEs is a pragmatic and positive step towards tackling recruitment and retention problems being faced by businesses. The hospitality sector has already taken, and continues to take, effort to tackle plastic waste and UKHospitality has been working with its members and the wider sector to help drive this. As the Chancellor rightly said, a latte levy would not necessarily help tackle waste but would increase costs for businesses and, ultimately, consumers. Avoiding this unnecessary additional tax is very welcome.”
A freeze in the rate of beer, cider and spirits duty will also help avoid an additional squeeze on the hospitality sector, added Mrs Nicholls.
“The chancellor has taken some positive steps to reassure and support hospitality businesses during uncertain political and economic times. We are now calling on the government to follow this positive Budget with continued support for businesses, as we close in on our withdrawal from the EU.”