UKH calls for government support amid threat of further restrictions | Item

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UKHospitality has called on the government to provide the necessary support to the hospitality industry amid reports that new restrictions to help tackle the upsurge in Omicron cases may soon be announced.

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said the need for support was because the business had already been “hugely damaged by the constant flow of pessimistic news following the discovery of the Omicron variant.”

She added that this comes at a time when the hospitality industry should normally expect to make a quarter of its annual profit.

Reports released over the weekend indicated that the government could consider a two-week “blackout” that would see a ban on mixing and indoor venues forced to operate with outdoor seating only.

Commenting, Nicholls said: “We know from previous closures that the sites are bleeding money. It costs £ 10,000 to shut down each site and £ 10,000 per month in overheads, and that with full leave and tariff relief. The damage the shutdown would cause to consumer confidence would also significantly increase payback time, not least because it would come early in the year, at the slowest trading period.

“Hotel establishments have invested enormous sums of money and resources to ensure a safe environment for guests and staff. Throughout the pandemic, companies have always wanted to fight their way towards recovery and that sentiment is stronger than ever. “

She added, “However, levels of trade are so low that the need for proportionate government support is already urgent and urgently needed if businesses, jobs and livelihoods are to be secured. An extension of the corporate tariff relief and lower VAT rate will make longer-term planning and budgeting easier, but timely grants will be vital for the survival of businesses in the short term.

“To minimize further damage, it is also crucial that the government indicate as soon as possible whether measures should be imposed and what they might be, in order to allow businesses to recover something from Christmas and New Years.”


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