The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published a new report, which is calling on the government to provide a new strategy to assist the UK’s hospitality and tourism sectors.
Titled ‘A Menu for Recovery’, the report outlines a series of recommendations for both sectors, including extending the hospitality VAT rate reduction to 5% until March 2022, and 100% business rates relief throughout the full financial year in England.
Furthermore, the trade association is urging the government allow businesses that sell food and drink to apply for a pavement licence much more easier, and maintain the right for pubs, cafes and restaurants to operate as a takeaway.
In support of these measures, the report found that more than half (56%) of small hospitality businesses believe further rate relief would support their high street, and 65% of small hospitality and tourism businesses backed the relaxation of planning regulations.
Mike Cherry, the FSB’s national chair, said: “With mass closures and restricted openings over the last 15 months, Covid-19 lockdowns have shown just how important our pubs, restaurants, hotels and thousands of businesses in the supply chain are to both the economy and our communities.
“The ever-rising cost of doing business was already weighing heavy on these firms and the pandemic has only exacerbated it. This week’s decision to postpone relaxation will have dashed the hopes of thousands of small businesses that have been unable to operate at full capacity since the pandemic started.”
He added: “With a crucial summer season ahead, we need to make sure the beleaguered sector gets urgent help to ensure its survival. Our new report sets out some of the ways that government at all levels can help future proof our brilliant hospitality and tourism businesses in the long term.
“Despite being a vital sector for the economy, tourism and hospitality businesses do not get the attention they deserve, and a new strategy tackling the huge number of challenges facing the sector would go some way to help.”