Following various webinars and consultation with operators in the sector, the Textile Services Association (TSA) has issued a bulletin containing all the information regarding its crusade to ensure hospitality status for hospitality laundries.
TSA CEO David Stevens said:” While we are having some successes we are also getting push back from some councils who are claiming they have no discretion around awarding grants to sectors that are not clearly stated on the Government list. We have been advised the best approach is to try to get a question asked in Parliament as per the event industry and this is best done via a laundry’s local MP.
“Rishi Sunak has confirmed Event Hire companies are part of the hospitality sector so why should hospitality laundries not be?”
Greg Smith (Buckingham) (Con) had this interaction with the Chancellor: “I warmly welcome the enormous package of measures outlined by the Chancellor. This morning, I spoke to Energy Generator Hire in Kimble Wick in my constituency, which has lost most of its order book and is uncertain about the future. Can he confirm whether event hire companies are included in the envelope of leisure and hospitality?”
Sunak replied: “Those that have business properties will be eligible both for the relief and the grant, which will cover a significant number of events companies that have premises. Obviously, if they do not have premises, they will not qualify for business rates relief, but should be eligible for some of the other measures that I have outlined today."
Stevens recommends hospitality laundries use this template to write to their MP to ask:
The question we want asked is as follows:
Why is my council [insert council] refusing to accept my company as part of the hospitality industry when my company is [insert company information in relation to the hospitality sector]. Scotland and Northern Ireland already include laundries and there is no reason why they should not be in England and Wales as well.
EACH LOCAL COUNCIL CAN DETERMINE WHO SHOULD BE ACKNOWLEDGED AS PART OF THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR
The Local Government Association ‘Coronavirus: Business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector’ states the following:
“The Government has published guidance on the application of business rates relief for the hospitality and leisure sector, as part of its Covid-19 response. Paragraph 15 of the Guidance states that the list provided is not intended to be exhaustive as it would be impossible to list the many and varied uses that exist within the qualifying purposes. As such, authorities should determine for themselves whether particular properties not listed are broadly similar in nature and, if so, to consider them eligible for the relief.”
Our message is simple. Our hospitality laundries are part of the hospitality industry.
• We shut when the hotels shut, we open when they open – within a couple of days of hotels closing, we had to close – there was no work.
• Many small hotels already process laundry on site, so you are already recognising laundry as part of this support package.
• We have been informed by our members that 10 English councils have already accepted this status for hospitality laundries but others are requesting clearer guidance.
• Laundries are on the list in Scotland and receiving the benefit.
• If we are not provided with this support, many of our members businesses will not be re-opening, as hotels cannot operate without laundry.
• Hotels and pubs typically have a 60% wage cost, and these are being covered, laundries are lower - around 40% due to high plant investment hence we are in even more desperate need of support as many of our costs, finance, HP, utilities standing charges, insurance, rent are continuing through shutdown.
• Loans have to be paid back and we expect the ramp back up to be very slow so will make cash flow very challenging if we rely solely on them.
• Linen costs – over 90% of hotels rent the linen from our members, so we own all the linen that is at hotels – this is an enormous capital investment for which we are currently receiving no return.
• Hospitality laundries employ 24,000 staff – if we cannot survive, thousands of jobs will be at risk.
Our claim is supported by UK Hospitality which recognises that the hospitality industry cannot reopen without the laundry industry ready and able to support it.
TSA membership push
“Since the beginning of lockdown, we have opened our communication to the industry as a whole to ensure we can all work together and get through the crisis. As we are likely to be in this new world for some time it has been agreed with the Board that we should put a time limit on this,” Stevens said.
“We are now communicating with over 50 non-members which is fantastic and hopefully everyone is benefiting in some way from the work the TSA has been doing. As a trade association, we are desperately keen to have all the industry on board, so we want to try and persuade all the smaller independent laundries who are not yet signed up as members to join.
“We are also aware that now may not be the best time to invoice you so we have agreed that subject to you signing up from the end of July we will issue you full complimentary membership for May and June. We will be contacting you all with a turnover declaration so we can let you know how cheap it will be! Once you have made a commitment, we will issue you with your membership log in for our website which will give you full access to all the resources and benefits. Remember all the income we get is spent on promoting and supporting the industry so the more members we have the more we can do.”