The trade body is demanding the Government postpone business rates payments until at least October and extend the rent moratorium beyond the 30 June deadline.
Speaking ahead of the Government’s update on its reopening roadmap, due on Monday 14 June, Labour Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband called on ministers to give support to businesses that will be negatively affected by any extension to the 21 June deadline for removing Coronavirus restrictions.
“Businesses have operated under historic uncertainty during this crisis, worsened by details of economic support playing catch up with public health announcements,” said Miliband.
“Now once again, businesses are in the dark, with a perfect storm of financial pinch points brewing and no reassurance from government that economic measures will remain in step with possible changes to the roadmap.
“It is right we remain guided by the science to tackle this virus, but businesses should absolutely not be paying the price for the Government’s poor handling of our borders and the new variant.
“We’ve got to back businesses on our high streets and safeguard the recovery of local economies. Businesses should not have to worry for even one day that economic support will be pulled away whilst restrictions remain in place.”
Miliband’s comments come amid speculation that Government ministers are considering pushing back the 21 June roadmap date by up to a month in order to give businesses greater certainty and to allow more time for people to have received two vaccinations.
Discussions have been taking place to impose either a two-week or four-week delay to the lifting of all remaining lockdown restrictions later this month, following an increasing number of cases, and hospitable admissions, due to the spread of the Indian variant, according to The Times.
“Hospitality businesses cannot continue to operate under conditions that leave them unable to trade profitably and so we echo the importance of Government support should there be any delay to the complete lifting of restrictions on 21 July,” says Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality.
“If Government decides it has to keep some restrictions in place after this date, then it must prioritise those that do the least damage to business and commit to further supporting the sector. Among other measures, the Government must postpone business rates payments until at least October and extend the rent moratorium while a long-term solution is found.
“Businesses need a swift, publicly-stated commitment that such support will be in place in the event of any delays, giving them much-needed reassurance after more than 15 months of closure and severely disrupted trading. Hospitality is desperate to get back to what it does best and can play a key role in the economic recovery of the UK - but only if it is given the proper support.”