UKHospitality (UKH) has welcomed Monday’s debate on the hospitality industry in Parliament which, the trade body says, highlights the overwhelming support for the sector and the need for additional supportive measures. This cross-party support for hospitality highlights importance of the sector and overwhelming backing for further measure, according to the organisation.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added that “there was also welcome recognition for our critical supply chain”. This is good news for the laundries whose survival is dependent on the hospitality industry which have been adversely affected by hospitality businesses locking down in the pandemic.*
The debate on support for the hospitality industry was made possible when a petition, calling for the creation of a Minister for Hospitality, gained the 100,000 signatures necessary to trigger a debate – before doubling that number.
Nicholls commented: “There was a clear and highly encouraging demonstration of strong cross-party support for an extension of the VAT cut and the business rates holiday. These are going to be crucial if we hope to see businesses survive the year. Announcing an extension of both of these policies, at the earliest possible opportunity, will provide some much-needed stability for our sector and allow businesses to begin planning. Equally clear is that a great many MPs recognise that this additional support will be necessary if the sector is to survive and lead the national revival.
“It was incredibly positive to hear so many MPs being vocal advocates of the hospitality sector. There was unanimous recognition of our importance economically and socially. It was particularly pleasing to hear parts of the sector like nightclubs, wedding venues and conference centres being lauded - businesses that have not grabbed headlines in the way that other sectors have, but are no less important, as the debate recognised. There was also welcome recognition for our critical supply chain.
“It is striking that, in the end, the petition got more than 200,000 signatures. We all understand the importance of what we do and it is good to see the Government recognise the importance of working closely with the sector to ensure that we are properly supported, not just during this crisis but more generally.”
* As LCN reported before Christmas (read full story here), the Textile Services Association (TSA) has been working with UK Hospitality and other supply chain organisations, such as the FEA (Foodservice Equipment Association), to try to get the Government to understand the vital role the supply chain plays. Kate Nicholls CEO of UK Hospitality has pointed out: “Hotels can’t operate without laundries”.
Tony Danker, the director-general of the CBI is also supportive of the critical role the supply chain plays. “We will be urging the government to take further steps to provide the foundations for the all-important economic recovery, particularly those affected through supply chains,” he says.
The TSA is not asking for special treatment, just for the same level of help as other businesses are already getting. That includes rates relief; amending the guidance to local authorities on discretionary grants, so that commercial laundries can be included; deferment of VAT until payback is viable; extending the terms of government loans until laundries can afford to repay them; and making more loans available during expected bounce back.
“We’d be delighted if any Government minister would come and visit some of our members to see for themselves the straits they are in,” says David Stevens. “This is deadly serious. Closures are coming. We have family businesses that have been operating successfully for over a hundred years that are about to go under. They’ve already re-mortgaged their houses, they’ve nowhere else to go.
“Without support, many of our members will disappear, along with tens of thousands of jobs.”