A cross-party group of 83 MPs has written to chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for “decisive financial support” for hospitality and tourism businesses in Wednesday’s Budget.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism wants additional government help for businesses “crucial to communities around the UK”.
The group said the UK’s tourism and hospitality sectors are both “world leaders”, but they have been “devastated by the Covid crisis”.
The MPs want a 100% holiday on business rates for all businesses in the sectors across the UK, covering the next financial year; an extension of the VAT cut to 5% on food and soft drinks for another 12 months; and an extension to the furlough scheme.
They also ask for improved loan repayment terms and HMRC tax deferrals to give businesses more “breathing room to recover”.
The APPG highlights how the the UK’s “world-leading tourism industry” is the sixth largest in the world, generating revenue of £155.4 billion each year for the UK economy.
“Covid-19 has ravaged the industry, with international and domestic tourism losing key ‘peak’ months during the summer of 2020,” said the letter.
It also said hospitality sales plummeted 54% in 2020, equivalent to £72 billion.
Sally-Ann Hart MP, co-vice chair of the APPG, 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, though. Despite unprecedented financial support from government, unfortunately many businesses have been lost and they have taken hundreds of thousands of jobs with them.
“Ongoing government support through to the end of the pandemic and through the recovery phase is critical to rebuilding this industry and creating jobs.”
Co-vice chair Alison Thewliss MP said: “Financial support at the Budget is now a must. The Chancellor needs to act positively and extend the VAT cut and the rates holiday to our fantastic hospitality and tourism sector which can help to re-grow our battered economies.
“Support must also be extended to workers in the hospitality and tourism sectors for the entire period that restrictions are in place.”
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