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Hospitality sector ‘abandoned’ by government

Almost two-thirds of hospitality businesses feel neglected by the UK government and believe more financial support is needed, a new survey has found.

The hospitality sector has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic

Peckwater Brands surveyed 201 senior decision makers across the hospitality sector.

The survey found 64% of on-trade operators felt abandoned by the UK government.

It also discovered that 69% of respondents looked favourably on government actions that helped hospitality businesses as they accumulated debts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, almost four in five (79%) of decision makers thought the government should have delayed the return of the pre-pandemic VAT rate for hospitality businesses by another a year.

In addition, 69% also believed upping national insurance contributions was a mistake.

The survey found that 82% believed the government should take immediate action to strengthen the hospitality sector.

Almost two-fifths (39%) of senior decision makers would like more financial support packages from the government, while 36% want business rates holidays to be offered to struggling firms.

Furthermore, more than a third (35%) want the government to support energy bills for the on-trade industry and 34% want a similar scheme to Eat Out to Help Out to be introduced.

Nearly a quarter (23%) want the government to subsidise alcohol to encourage consumer spending.

Sam Martin, CEO of Peckwater Brands, said: “The hospitality sector has not minced its words: the government must increase its support to hospitality businesses.

“The Covid-19 pandemic hit venues incredibly hard – and while they did receive important financial support throughout this difficult time, it has arguably dried up just as the cost-of-living crisis has hit. It is little wonder that the sector feels abandoned.”

Martin called on the government to develop a “realistic strategy” to help hospitality venues recover.

He noted that venues must utilise alternative options to bolster sales in the meantime.

“Reassessing supply chains to find cheaper alternatives, for example, or exploring the possibility of virtual brands could be a step in the right direction,” Martin added.

The UK hospitality industry saw a 2.3% drop in revenue, compared with the six months to December 2019, according to a recent report.

The global pub, bar and nightclub market is expected to grow by US$24.60 billion from 2021 to 2026.

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