In the letter to Rishi Sunak Gunewardena, whose restaurant group operates 40 venues in major cities in the UK as well as Paris and New York, describes the Government’s additional support of £9,000 per venue to businesses as “wholly inadequate” and revealed that the pandemic is costing the company £2.5m per month of closure even after rent negotiations and business rates relief.
“The cost of operating our UK businesses while closed is c. £1.5m per month compared with the average pre-Covid profits of £1m per month,” he writes.
Gunewardena is asking the Government to consider a number of proposals, including increasing the property grant to 50% rateable value with no cap, which he says will make a “meaningful contribution” to D&D’s ongoing lockdown losses and towards settling “substantial” rent liabilities.
He is also calling for removing the required employer contributions to cover pensions and National Insurance, as was the case during the first lockdown, and the reinstation of the job retention bonus of £1,000 per member of staff.
Gunewardena is also calling for an extension of the cut in VAT for a further 12 months as well as a lengthening of the period of business rates relief until the economy has fully recovered.
“This is not a speculative wish list of financial asks. I believe that it is a package which is desperately needed,” writes Gunewardena.
More than 200,000 people have now signed the #SeatAtTheTable petition calling for PM Boris Johnson to appoint a Hospitality Minister. The issue will be debated in Parliament today (Monday, 11th January) at 4.30pm.