UK chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday announced a 50 per cent
discount on business rates for companies in retail, hospitality and leisure,
but the hospitality industry seems underwhelmed by the amount of support
offered to those that are still struggling as a result of the pandemic.
Business rates are a tax charged on non-domestic properties such as shops, pubs, hotels, restaurants and offices.
The reduction in business rates will last for 12 months and
allows companies – mainly brick and mortar venues – to claim a discount of up
to £110,000. It will support hotels, pubs, event venues and restaurants.
However, Simon Richards, treasurer of the HBAA – soon to be
rebranded to beam – said the measure does not go far enough to support the
“The 12-month discount on business rates for hotels, pubs
and leisure venues, the reduction in Air Passenger Duty on flights within the
UK and the investment in transport infrastructure are valuable to the sector
while the growth in the economy is encouraging…
“But there was nothing that would directly help agencies and
event service providers who don’t own properties and who are struggling to
recover from the extensive impact of the pandemic.
“We called for Plan B4E to support businesses to cope with
the impact of potential Plan B Covid restrictions. We also called for the
reduced level of VAT paid by the sector to continue beyond April 2022 and are
very disappointed that this was not in the budget. We asked for the extension
of the Kick Start scheme in terms of both application dates and end dates to
encourage and help employers retain new staff aged 18 to 24.
“If Plan B is implemented, then Plan B4E, the VAT reduction
and extension of Kick Start would have been crucial to maintaining the survival
of businesses and keeping many jobs.”
Meanwhile, Lauren Broughton, head of public affairs at
UKinbound, commented: “We welcome the 50 per cent business rate reduction for
retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, along with the new funding for
local cultural and heritage sites and the promised investment in the UK’s
transport infrastructure, all of which will positively impact the UK’s inbound
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’ve
been lobbying hard for a significant reform of the outdated business rates system
and very much welcome the move to extend the 50 per cent business rates relief
for the hospitality and leisure sector for the next financial year.
“The devil will be in the detail. We look forward to
learning to what extent it will benefit businesses.”