UKHospitality calls for financial support for businesses now

6 January 2022

UKHospitality, the trade association for hospitality businesses, warns of significant ongoing problems as covid restrictions in Wales and Scotland bite into business for its members. The association describe the Christmas period as ‘disastrous’ and ‘a write-off’ and says things are not much better in England even without the additional stringent restrictions. This is not good news for the laundries that support them.

An immediate increase in financial support and the lifting of trading restrictions is urgently needed to prevent Welsh hospitality businesses closures and job losses, UKHospitality Cymru has warned.

“Across the board, enforced sub-viable trading and the associated cautionary climate has fuelled a festive flop in our pubs, restaurants, hotels and wider hospitality,” said David Chapman, executive director of UKHospitality Cymru.

“A disastrous Christmas and New Year under the latest restrictions has left many facing a perilous financial position with grants falling way short of what is needed. In particular, retaining staff on current Government supports is unsustainable. Wales’ nightclubs are closed but are expected to keep a full staff roster, for maybe as long as two months, with a grant that doesn’t even amount to a busy night’s takings,” said Chapman.

“Their English counterparts are reporting falling footfall and heavy losses even without the stringent additional set of restrictions being imposed in Wales - revenue is at least 25 per cent lower than across the border at present.

“If financial support isn’t swiftly forthcoming, grave commercial impacts are inevitable, which will hugely damage communities across Wales,” Chapman added.

UKHospitality Scotland’s executive director Leon Thompson commented on the First Minister’s statement on changes to self-isolation, saying “The reduction from 10 to seven days for self-isolation will be welcomed by the Scottish hospitality businesses that are able to trade at reasonable levels and thus require greater numbers of their team. However, with no easing of restrictions or reversal of closures until at least 17 January, today’s announcement leaves the future of jobs and livelihoods remain hanging in the balance.

“Christmas and Hogmanay were a write-off for many of our businesses. The ongoing uncertainty on how, or indeed if, sporting and business events can take place over coming weeks and months is now sapping business and consumer confidence further. If the uncertainty around restrictions continues, Easter bookings and trade will suffer, too, as holidaymakers from Scotland and the rest of the UK decide to travel elsewhere.

“Financial support for hospitality is yet to reach struggling businesses - even when it does, it will help with some immediate costs but won’t save the struggling hospitality venues that so desperately need to trade at full capacity. Above all, those businesses need clarity on when restrictions will be lifted and recognition from the Scottish Government that future restrictions on hospitality are not the way out of the current phase of the pandemic.”

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