Bob Cotton, chairman of the British Hospitality Association, has called for the government to allow VAT and NI payments to be deferred, reinstate capital allowances and stop introducing new regulations, in a bid to help the industry re-stabilise.
Cotton put the measures forward in a letter to MPs as the three key ways the government, whom he calls the ‘most regulatory-minded administration in the country’s history’, can help struggling restaurants and hotels during the current economic climate.
He argues that NI and VAT payment deferrals were granted during the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001, and that instigating the same measures now would save hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs.
In order to encourage investment in the industry when growth is particularly important, Cotton urged the Government to reinstate the capital allowances and postpone the abolition of the Hotels Building Allowance.
He said: "There is a tremendous investment currently being undertaken in terms of new hotels and restaurants, but these are being put at peril with the current economic slowdown and the loss of capital allowances and the Hotel Buildings Allowance. If their withdrawal could be postponed, it would greatly encourage businesses to continue to invest in the future.
“The government should stop introducing more regulations,” he continued. “These cost businesses billions of pounds and Ministers seem to have little concern (or knowledge) about the financial impact which new regulations in employment, health and safety, food safety and other areas are inflicting on the industry. Now is not the time to inflict yet more of them on businesses already fighting for survival.”
Cotton’s outburst comes on the same day the Government launched a consultation on proposals to change tipping practices, which, according to the BHA, could potentially see more job losses and restaurants go out of business as a result.