Rates relief cap may ‘jeopardise’ sector recovery, warns UKH

UKHospitality (UKH) has warned that the business rates relief cap could “jeopardise” the hospitality sector’s economic recovery following the pandemic.

Analysis from the trade association reveals almost 8,000 business venues, employing an estimated 343,000 people will be paying full rates in July, despite Budget measures to soften the acute rates burden.

It is believed another 1,850 venues will be in the same situation in September, resulting in businesses cutting costs and closing viable sites.

The trade body is calling on the Treasury to extend the period for which the 100% rates relief (uncapped) would apply from three to six months.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “While the Budget was broadly positive for the hospitality sector with a range of welcome measures, the cap on business rates support really took the shine off things, by excluding so many potential recipients.

“The cap comes into effect just days after trading restrictions are due to be lifted and will put a major economic drag on the businesses affected and risk the jobs that they support.For all rate paying hospitality businesses, their bills will begin landing in June, with demands for payment before they are back on their feet.”

She added: “July is simply too early for businesses to be expected to start repaying rates after a devastating year of closure, restrictions and accumulation of debt.

“Hospitality stands ready to play its part in creating new jobs and boosting our communities across the country, but this policy risks strangling the recovery in its infancy.”

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