UKH calls on Gov for mitigating measures after ‘freedom day’ delay

UKHospitality has urged the Government to consider a range of mitigating measures in relation to mounting costs for hospitality businesses as the easing of lockdown restrictions is delayed.

The trade association claimed that the stall to reopening risks further business failures as a result of unsustainable accrued debts on top of already existing issues facing the labour market.

Despite the delay to “freedom day”, hospitality businesses will still have to factor in business rates payments, VAT repayments, and furlough salary contributions from this week onwards.

Kate Nicholls, CEO at UKH, said that “an immediate extension of the business rates holiday” is necessary to “settle some commercial concerns”.

She highlighted that the delay to reopening has caused issues with the furlough eligibility date, meaning many newly employed staff members cannot be furloughed and risk being laid off.

Nicholls added: “The eligibility date must be retrospectively changed, accompanied by a targeted furlough with zero employer contribution for those businesses that remain forcibly shut or restricted.

“These measures would protect newer appointments and allow staff retention for when restrictions are finally lifted, rather than unfairly placing a further erosion on the cash-starved businesses trying to provide employment.”

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