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Over 100 hospitality businesses write to Prime Minister urging him to intervene to avoid the bleakest of winters

Over 100 hospitality businesses in the UK, including pub businesses, restaurant chains and hotel operators have written directly to the Prime Minister warning that he must personally do more to help them. 


In the letter to the Prime Minister, led by trade associations the British Beer & Pub Association, UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping, it says that without additional and urgent support many businesses will not “survive this bleakest of winters” and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost. 


The letter states that even prior to the latest COVID-19 restrictions, half of all hospitality businesses did not believe they would survive beyond the middle of next year. It says that the latest restrictions – including the 10pm curfew – “have made this fight to survive even harder.” 


It calls on the Government to commit to review the appropriateness of the latest restrictions at least every three weeks, and to remove them if they are found to not be impacting the spread of the virus. 


The letter also says that if hospitality businesses are to survive and “lead the economic and employment recovery”, they need more Government support.  


It states that the Chancellor’s winter support package “does not go nearly far enough for our imperilled sector.” It continues, “without an immediate review of the support on offer to pubs, restaurants and wider hospitality businesses, many will be lost for years to come.” 


The letter immediately calls on the Prime Minister to remove employer contributions for the hospitality sector to the Job Support Scheme and provide a package of grant funding for those businesses that face restrictions being brought forward. To plan and rebuild beyond the winter, it also says “the VAT cut and business rates holiday must also be extended through 2021 and beer duty cut.” 


In closing, the letter asks the Prime Minister “to intervene as a matter of urgency” and offers a meeting of sector leaders to help draw up a sector-specific support package to reflect sector-specific restrictions and  preventing “the devastating damage that is drawing ever closer.” 


The letter is reproduced below:

Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street




29 September 2020



Dear Prime Minister


We write to you today as a collective of businesses from across the hospitality sector, from multinational operators to representatives of individual sites, as the realities of last week’s announcement now become clear. We are committed to working with the Government in the fight to keep COVID-19 under control and demonstrating our businesses are safe places for customers to visit. Quite simply, though, we need additional and urgent support in order to survive this bleakest of winters. Businesses are at risk of failure and hundreds of thousands of viable jobs will be lost without Government action.


Hospitality is a major driver of economic activity in the UK, supporting more than three million jobs during 2019 and tens of thousands of small, medium and large businesses in every corner of the country. They are integral to Britain’s tourism offer. Our sector has been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic and many businesses have already sadly closed forever, with the remainder fighting for survival. For tens of thousands of small pub business operators, these are their homes as well as their livelihoods. Even prior to this week, one half of hospitality businesses did not believe they would survive beyond the middle of next year. Many have not even yet had the chance to re-open, such as nightclubs and the events sector.


The latest restrictions have made this fight to survive even harder. Town and city centre businesses – re-opened as people were urged to return to offices – will now be shut down. Across the country, the 10pm curfew has removed key trading hours for all of us vital to our survival, removing whole shifts from food-led businesses. It has created pinch points for public transport and large groups congregating elsewhere in a manner likely to increase COVID-related health risks.


The sector has invested tens of millions of pounds in protective equipment for staff, perspex shields, enhanced cleaning regimes as well as new technology solutions to create entirely safe Covid-secure environments, yet trade is already being decimated as more consumers stay away whilst costs continue to rise.  On top of this, we are experiencing further restrictions for already Covid-Secure venues, which dismays operators as yet more restrictions are applied to their businesses. We are not opposed to restrictions that can tackle the spread of the virus but a pragmatic and flexible approach has to be adopted by both central and local Government. A commitment must be made to review the appropriateness of all these measures at least every three weeks. The 10pm curfew should be removed if demonstrably not working as intended or adjusted to provide for gradual dispersal and avoid the unintended consequences for the wider sector including cultural activities now impacted.


If we are to have businesses to rebuild once the winter months are over that will lead the economic and employment recovery, we now need urgent Government support. Sector-specific restrictions deserve sector-specific support. However, the package announced by the Chancellor does not go nearly far enough for our imperiled sector. The Job Support Scheme, as it stands, regrettably does not provide us with the necessary tools to stave off hundreds of thousands of redundancies of otherwise viable jobs that are now taking place on an unprecedented scale. The simple truth is that without an immediate review of the support on offer to pubs, restaurants and wider hospitality businesses, many will be lost for years to come. The damage to communities will be immeasurable, long-term, and ultimately extremely costly for Government.


In the immediate term, the employer contributions need to be removed for the hospitality sector and a new package of grant funding for businesses that face restrictions brought forward. To plan for a future beyond the winter, the VAT cut and business rates holiday must also be extended through 2021 and beer duty cut.

We would ask you to intervene as a matter of urgency and as a first step convene a meeting of sector leaders to help draw up a support package that will prevent the devastating damage that is drawing ever closer.


Yours sincerely


Signed and supported by the following businesses and business leaders:


Admiral Taverns Chris Jowsey
Adnams Andy Wood
All Our Bars Paul Wigham
Anglian Country Inns Ltd James Nye
Arkell’s Brewery George Arkell
Artizian Catering Andrew Botting
Asahi UK Tim Clay
Azzurri Group Steve Holmes
BALPPA Paul Kelly
Bartlett Mitchell Wendy Bartlett MBE
Baxter Storey John Bennett
Big Table Group James Spragg
Bill Toner CH&Co Group
Black Sheep Brewery Andy Slee
Brakspear Pub Company Tom Davies
Brasserie Bar Co Mark Derry
British Beer and Pub Association Emma McClarkin
British Institute of Innkeeping Steve Alton
Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I Paula Lindenberg
Budweiser Budvar UK Simon George
Burger King Alasdair Murdoch
C&C Group Andrea Pozzi
Caffè Nero Gerry Ford
Caledonian Heritable Graeme Arnott
Camerons Brewing Chris Soley
Carlsberg UK Tomasz Blawat
D&D London David Loewi
D&D London Des Gunewardena
Daleside Brewery Eric Lucas
Daniel Batham & Son Tim Batham
Daniel Thwaites Richard Bailey
Deltic Group Peter Marks
Everards Brewery Stephen Gould
Frederic Robinsons William Robinson
Fuller, Smith and Turner Simon Emeny
GC Mallen Garry Mallen
George Bateman & Son Jaclyn Bateman
Glendola Leisure Group Alex Salussolia
Gray & Sons Nicola Kitchener
Graysons Hospitality Ltd Sir Francis Mackay
Graysons Hospitality Ltd Tim O’Neill
Greene King Nick Mackenzie
Hall & Woodhouse Matthew Kearsey
Harvey & Son Brewery Hamish Elder
Harviestoun Brewery Simon Amor
Heavitree Nick Tucker
Heineken UK Simon Amor
Hogs Back Brewery Rupert Thompson
Holden’s Brewery Jonathan Holden
Honest Burgers Gary Mann
Hook Norton Brewery Co James Clarke
Houston & Hawkes Simon Houston
Hydes Brewery Adam Mayers
Innis & Gunn Crawford Sinclair
J.W. Lees & Co William Lees-Jones
JD Wetherspoon John Hutson
Joseph Holt Richard Kershaw
Legacy Hotels Andy Townsend
Liberation Group Jonathan Lawson
Loch Melfort Hotel Calum Ross
Marston’s Ralph Findlay
McMullen & Son Tom McMullen
Mitchells & Butlers Phil Urban
Molson Coors Phil Whitehead
Moto Ken McMeikan
New River Retail Mark Davies
Oakman Inns Peter Borg-Neal
Palmers John Palmer
Parkdean Resorts Steve Richards
Pizza Hut Restaurants Jens Hofma
PizzaExpress Zoe Bowley
Prezzo Karen Jones
Punch Pubs & Co Clive Chesser
Revolution Rob Pitcher
Rock Point Leisure Dan Davies
Rosa’s Thai Café Gavin Adair
S.A. Brain & Co Alistair Darby
Scottish Tourism Alliance Marc Crothall
Shepherd Neame Jonathan Neame
Sodexo David Mulcahy
St Brides Spa Hotel Andrew Evans
St. Austell Brewery Kevin Georgel
Sticks’n’Sushi Andreas Karlsson
Stonegate Pub Company Simon Longbottom
T&R Theakston Simon Theakston
The Genuine Dining Co. Chris Mitchell
The Pub People Company Kevin Sammons
Thomas Hardy Brewing and Packaging Chris Ward
Thorley Taverns Phil Thorley
Thurlestone Hotel Tim Hassell
CH&Co Group Tim Jones
Timothy Taylor’s & Co Tim Dewey
Titanic Brewery Keith Bott
Tortilla Brandon Stephens
Tourism Alliance Kurt Janson
TriSpan LLP Robin Rowland OBE
Trust Inns Mark Brown
UKHospitality Kate Nicholls
Vacherin Phil Roker
Wadworth & Co Chris Welham
Wells & Co Paul Wells
Whiting & Hammond Ltd Brian Whiting
Woodforde’s Brewery Joe Parks
Young’s & Co Patrick Dardis