Published 2 March 2021
by Harriet Prior
“The budget on Wednesday will be very closely watched by hospitality,” wrote CODE’s editor Lisa Markwell in this week’s Bulletin. The industry has called for chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend business rates relief, the furlough scheme, the cut in the VAT rate from 20 to 5 percent and find a solution to the end of the rent moratorium, which currently runs until 31 March.
With it now clear that restaurants will be unable to resume outdoor dining until April and indoor dining a month later, tomorrow’s budget will set the record straight on the support the hospitality industry will receive until that time.
The HopsoDemo group, which has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to raise awareness within government of hospitality’s need or help, is lobbying until the last moment. It is asking those in hospitality to record a ‘Message to Rishi’ and post it to Instagram, tagging @rishisunakmp and using he hashtag #savehopsitalityrishi.
It is rumoured that Sunak will announce £5bn in grants for businesses, which has suffered from repeated lockdowns, weighted on their rateable value. “Restart grants” of between £8,000 and £18,000 will hopefully be put in place to help plan reopening. An additional £425 million will be added to the Additional Restrictions Grant fund to support those not eligible for grants. U.K Hospitality said that such a package is “critical for business to survive,” with chief executive Kate Nicholls noting the grants need to reach hospitality businesses as soon as possible.
On the other hand, there’s talk of a delivery tax, that may impact meal-kits, which have offered many restaurants a lifeline and chance to continue trading during the past year.
Along with the rest of the industry, we will be keenly watching the budget announcement – and as always, will keep you up to date with any news and updates as they happen.