The government has responded to consultation from industry bodies with a package of measures for all hospitality and retail businesses that includes extension of 100% business rate relief for the entire sector regardless of rateable value for the next 12 months.
The move extends the announcement in the Budget earlier this month by the Chancellor of cancellation of business rate payments for hospitality businesses with rateable value below £51,000.
Following the announcement this evening on the business rate freeze, part of a £330bn package to alleviate the impact of the virus, B&B Association chairman David Weston tweeted: “The package looks the right scale but the devil will be in the detail – we will analyse it and report to members on what could help them.”
The entire hospitality sector has been hit massively by the social and financial impact of the COVID19 virus. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The severity of the COVID-19 crisis is now impacting on pubs with devastating effect. The very existence of thousands of pubs and a lot more jobs are now at risk.
“Urgent measures to support cash flows and enable cost reductions is an absolute necessity. Government action now will save thousands of jobs and save our pubs.
“Support for pubs now is an investment in the long-term future of communities across the UK without it we risk losing our community assets forever.”
Events throughout hospitality across the UK have been or are being cancelled this week in response to the precautions taken in reaction to the virus. Today the Campaign for Real Ale, which runs over 180 local beer festivals across the country, announced it has cancelled all events – including local beer festivals – planned between now and the end of June following recent government advice on mass gathering.
All physical events, festivals and meetings, from branch to national levels, have been cancelled for an initial three-month period, with further cancellations to be considered regularly as the situation evolves.
Nik Antona, CAMRA National Chairman said: “While we understand the important social benefits of CAMRA and the huge pleasure in pub going, we feel it would be highly irresponsible to continue to promote gatherings of people in pubs – both of which have been advised against by the Government. We will, of course, be looking into what campaigning measure we can take to help support the British beer and pub industry during this unsettling time – and would repeat our calls for the Government to put together a support package to support the pub and brewery trade during this period.”
Meanwhile cafes, restaurants and pubs can now automatically become takeaways and food delivery companies under an emergency change to the planning laws scrapping the need for them to apply for change of use permission in bid to keep them afloat