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Hospitality sector faces £3bn loss if lockdown extended

A month-long delay to the lifting of full restrictions in England could cost the UK hospitality industry £3 billion (US$4.2bn) in sales, a trade group has warned.

The hospitality industry has suffered from closures and disruption for 15 months

All Covid-19 restrictions in England are due to be lifted on 21 June, yet this morning government sources are rumoured to have said that most current rules will remain in place for four more weeks.

An update on the easing of lockdown will be given by UK prime minister Boris Johnson during a press conference tonight, at 6pm BST.

UK Hospitality said sector sales remain down by 42%, with the industry losing £87bn (US$122bn) in sales.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, said: “The government has a balance to strike, but due to the amazing efforts of the NHS in rolling out vaccines it is time to lift the restrictions that are crushing businesses.

“A full and final ending of restrictions is the only way to ensure that businesses in this sector can trade profitably.”

UK Hospitality has said the decision to drag out the lockdown risks further jeopardising the future of thousands of hospitality businesses, and the jobs they provide.

The trade group warned that businesses have been left in debt or risk suffering without the right support, with UK Hospitality calling for the extension of measures such as rent moratorium.

Nicholls added: “[The government] must commit to further supporting the sector. Confidence has been shaken so it is imperative that government postpones business rates payments until at least October, and extend the rent and debt moratoria for hospitality businesses while a long-term solution to Covid-19 arrears is found.

“Businesses need a swift, publicly-stated commitment that such support will be in place, giving them much-needed reassurance after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading.

“Hospitality is desperate to get back to what it does best and can play a key role in the economic recovery of the UK – but only if it is given permission to trade and proper support.”

UK Hospitality recently partnered with the Department for Work and Pensions to promote jobs in the on-trade.

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