UKHospitality’s chief executive, Kate Nicholls, has called on the government to go further in its support of the industry after it outlined a series of measures to help the sector’s recovery in yesterday’s Budget.
She said: “We have been lobbying hard for significant reform of the outdated business rates system and therefore very much welcome the chancellor’s move to extend the 50% business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector for the next financial year. The devil will be in the detail, though, so we look forward to learning to what extent it will benefit businesses.
“The chancellor’s announcements simplifying – and in many cases reducing – alcohol duties, are great news for pubs, bars and restaurants, and will benefit all. The chancellor has shown real innovation and creativity in reforming an archaic system of duty, which we applaud.”
Ms Nicholls said that while the announcements were positive for the industry, the hospitality sector still remains incredibly fragile.
“Rising utility bills, wage bills and food and drink prices have resulted in 13% inflationary costs that businesses are having to absorb at the same time as they navigate severe supply chain issues and chronic staff shortages. Given this toxic cocktail, it is imperative the government go further to support businesses in our sector.
“The most effective way to achieve this would be to maintain the current lower 12.5% of VAT for the sector. The chancellor has been bold and radical with alcohol duty – we urge him to adopt the same approach when implementing root and branch reform of business rates, to ensure industries share the burden equally.”
Ms Nicholls said that hospitality has shown this summer that it has the potential to kickstart the nation’s recovery and deliver jobs, growth and investment at pace across all parts of the country, but warned that could grind to a halt next year. “It can only lead recovery with the right measures of support in place,” she said.