Pubs and restaurants urge PM for more support to survive ‘bleakest of winters’

More than 100 hospitality businesses in the UK – including pubs, restaurants and hotels – have written to the Prime Minister warning that thousands of jobs will be lost if businesses do not survive “this bleakest of winters”.

In the letter to Boris Johnson, industry leaders say that even before the latest Covid-19 restrictions, half of all hospitality businesses did not believe they would survive beyond the middle of next year.

It comes as companies prepare for what to do when the Government’s furlough scheme ends on October 31.

The letter, led by trade associations the British Beer & Pub Association, UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping, states the latest restrictions, including the 10pm curfew, “have made this fight to survive even harder”.

Businesses are urging the Government to commit to reviewing the appropriateness of the latest restrictions at least every three weeks, and to remove them if they prove ineffective in halting the spread of the virus.

It states that the Government needs to provide more support and that the Chancellor’s winter support package “does not go nearly far enough for our imperilled sector”.

Customers outside London pub
Customers outside London pub

The letter calls on the Prime Minister to remove employer contributions for the hospitality sector to the Job Support Scheme and provide a package of grant funding for those businesses that face restrictions.

To plan and rebuild beyond the winter, industry leaders say the VAT cut and business rates holiday must also be extended through 2021 and beer duty cut.

The letter asks the Prime Minister “to intervene as a matter of urgency” and offers a meeting of sector leaders to help draw up a support package for the sector.