Industry calls on Government to increase grant support

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Industry calls on Government to increase grant support in wake of Coronavirus crisis

Related tags: Coronavirus, UnitedWeStand, Restaurant, Government, Grant

Voices from within the hospitality industry are calling on the Government to lift the threshold on its Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme so that more businesses can benefit.

Under the current grant scheme, which was announced last month by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his £350bn financial package​ to help businesses navigate the Coronavirus crisis, only the smallest business within the sector are eligible.

Businesses with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000; while those with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

The first grants were distributed this week. 

Trade body UKHospitality has said that in the absence of ‘an effective finance solution’, it is now pressing for the availability of these grants to be expanded by lifting the threshold.

London Union's Jonathan Downey says he believes either raising or removing the £51,000 rateable value threshold is achievable, but notes that wider access to these grants will be more beneficial for some businesses than others. 

“A £25,000 grant to premises with an rateable value of £50,000 and a weekly turnover of between £5,000 and £10,000 might think this a windfall, but it won’t make a difference to a business trading from premises with an rateable value of £500,000 and lost weekly sales of £150,000,” he says.

“So we’ve still got some thinking to do on grants.”

Speaking to BigHospitality ​last week, Alex Claridge, chef owner of The Wilderness restaurant in Birmingham, said that an expansion of the grant scheme would be beneficial​.

He said: “A major source of support would be making these grants available to hospitality businesses irrespective of rateable value.

"Right now we’re all trying to figure out how much it’s going to cost us to keep our businesses alive during this crisis, but what we all need to be aware of is that this isn’t going to be a short battle. We’re going to feel the impact of this for at least the next 12 months, and maybe beyond.”

Related topics: Business

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