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Sector calls for support under Plan B

The new ‘work from home’ directive will kill off the UK’s hospitality sector this Christmas warns hospitality bosses. The group believe reintroducing the ‘work from home’ guidance will diminish consumer confidence, resulting in widespread cancellations of bookings during the critical festive trading period.

UKHospitality, Croydon BID, Mayor of London and Boxpark have joined the call on behalf of the UK’s hospitality sector for an urgent review into financial support. The group is urging Government to provide financial support to soften the blow to Christmas trading from new COVID guidelines by redirecting unspent grants available to the sector or by introducing new alternatives such as a discretionary fund to be administered by local authorities.

This call is further backed by British BIDs, The BID Foundation, Night Time Industries Association and the Association of Town and City Management who together collectively represent over 100,000 hospitality businesses.

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality said: “The measures announced today will significantly impact consumer confidence and be particularly devastating to city and town centre venues. As such, they risk devastating the hospitality sector amid its most important time of the year. We therefore desperately need support if we are to survive this latest set of restrictions and urge the government to stand behind our industry. That means full business rates relief, grants, rent protection and extended VAT reductions. Anything less would prove catastrophic.”

Matthew Sims, CEO, Croydon BID said: “Government must recognise that recent delays and indecision in responding to the growing trend of cases particularly with respect to Omicron has now left our high streets reeling from the announcements made by our Prime Minister. The devastating impact of reintroducing ‘work from home’ guidance will lead to a further reduction in consumer confidence which will undoubtedly lead to the cancellation of Christmas parties and gatherings during the festive period and a very hard January for the retail hospitality and leisure sectors. Government must meet business halfway and introduce financial support such as a discretionary fund or the repurposing of The Additional Restrictions Grant fund and allocate to businesses most affected during the busiest time of the year. Without it, we can expect further closures on our high streets.”

Bill Addy, Chief Executive, BID Foundation: “As businesses shift to working from home guidance and those affected absorb the impact of new restrictions, we once again have to point out to this Government that it is those industries who have borne the brunt of restrictions over the past 18 months who are being asked to do so again. Christmas is a crucial time for organisations within the city as people visit theatres, music venues, concerts and more. Culture, arts and entertainment lost 20% of its sector GVA due to COVID restrictions, with my region Merseyside one of the worst regions affected. This sector is a major employer in our country and a vital partner for hospitality. The loss of income affects jobs, venues and risks us starting 2022 a step behind. These venues being forced to change their guidance to audiences deserve support for any loss of income.”


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