Calls for new support for the hospitality sector
Business leaders have issued a new call for support for the beleaguered hospitality industry, after fears around the new Omicron variant led to a sharp drop in trade heading into Christmas.
The industry has widely welcomed the announcement that there will be no new Covid restrictions in England until the new year, beyond the Plan B measures already in place.
However, UK Chambers of Commerce President Baroness McGregor-Smith warned it would not make up for lost business during what should have been the busiest time of year as people stayed away pubs and restaurants.
As the Treasury announced grants of up to £ 6,000 for affected businesses, she said some were losing more than that every day.
“In January, February, March, we have rising labor costs and energy costs, among many other costs. The list is long for businesses, especially in the hotel industry, ”she told BBC Radio 4 Today.
“I’m glad to see that we are protecting New Years Eve, but it just won’t go far enough.”
Lady McGregor-Smith urged the government to extend trade rate relief and the emergency VAT rate beyond the end of March, and to reinstate a “targeted” holiday support program.