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Almost two-thirds of UK hospitality firms have no faith in government

Almost two-thirds of hospitality businesses feel abandoned by the government, according to new research from Peckwater Brands.

The virtual brand operator surveyed 201 senior decision-makers within hospitality businesses. It found that nearly seven-in-10 (69 per cent) of respondents are in favour of the government’s actions which protect hospitality businesses which accumulated debts during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, 64 per cent now feel that the government has abandoned the hospitality sector.  Indeed, almost four-in-five (79 per cent) of respondents think the government should have delayed increasing of VAT for hospitality businesses to pre-pandemic levels by at least 12 months. Sixty-nine per cent also believe that increasing national insurance contributions was a mistake. Eighty-two per cent believe that the government must take immediate action to strengthen the hospitality sector, with almost two-fifths (39 per cent) of senior decision-makers wanting the government to provide more financial support packages, whilst over a third (36 per cent) want business rates holidays to be offered to struggling businesses. Furthermore, 35 per cent want the government to subsidise energy bills for hospitality businesses, 34 per cent want a scheme like the Eat Out to Help Out to be introduced, whilst over a fifth (23 per cent) want the government to subsidise alcohol to increase consumer spending.  Sam Martin, CEO of Peckwater Brands said: “The hospitality sector has not minced its words: the government must increase its support to hospitality businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic hit venues incredibly hard – and while they did receive important financial support throughout this difficult time, it has arguably dried up just as the cost-of-living crisis has hit. It is little wonder that the sector feels abandoned.  “The government must prioritise developing and communicating a realistic strategy to help venues get back on their feet. Admittedly, such a plan will take time to implement, so in the meantime, hospitality businesses must consider alternative options to ensure they can stay afloat. Reassessing supply chains to find cheaper alternatives, for example, or exploring the possibility of virtual brands could be a step in the right direction. Indeed, such avenues could help organisations to bolster their revenue while they wait to hear the government’s long-term strategy. “Evidently, the government must take affirmative action to support the sector. But optimistically, steps can be taken by businesses themselves to boost their revenue and stabilise their precarious position. And provided they remain open-minded and flexible; I remain cautiously optimistic for the future of the industry.” 

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