MPs urge chancellor to support tourism sector
In a letter signed by more than 80 MPs from right across the political divide, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Hospitality and Tourism is urging the chancellor to provide decisive financial support to protect sector businesses crucial to communities around the UK.
A similar call was heard from the aviation sector earlier.
The tourism and hospitality sectors are both world leaders, but they have been devastated by the Covid-19 crisis.
Industry figures show hospitality sales plummeted 54 per cent in 2020, equivalent to £72 billion, while 40 per cent of accommodation and food service activities businesses have no or low confidence that their businesses would survive for the next three months.
Hospitality and tourism businesses are critical both economically and socially to communities and this is highlighted by support from across the four nations of the United Kingdom.
With the reopening of the economy now in sight, it is crucial that these businesses be given the support they need to survive the remainder of the crisis and the best chance to flourish, MPs said.
Some 83 MPs have written to the chancellor ahead of this week’s Budget calling for an extension to the VAT cut and business rates holiday.
An extension of the VAT cut to five per cent on food and soft drinks for another 12 months has also been requested, and for this to be extended to the broad hospitality industry, including alcoholic drinks sold on-premise, the leisure sector and weddings
The letter also calls on the government to extend the furlough scheme, replace the Job Retention Bonus and provide improved loan repayment terms and HMRC tax deferrals to give businesses more breathing room to recover.
Co-vice chair of the APPG, Sally-Ann Hart, said: “Our hospitality and tourism sectors are some of the best in the world.
“They are a fantastic social as well as economic asset and we should be immensely proud of them.
“They have been absolutely devastated by Covid-19, though.
“Despite unprecedented financial support from government, unfortunately many businesses have been lost and they have taken hundreds of thousands of jobs with them.
“These are businesses that are critical to communities around the country.
“They are focal points for social lives and drive inward investment.
“Ongoing government support through to the end of the pandemic and through the recovery phase is critical to rebuilding this industry and creating jobs.”