For many years the NFFF has been campaigning to get reform on VAT as we feel it places an unfair burden on our businesses. Now more that ever we need this reform but for now we need an extension to the reduction that is due to expire at the end of March. The hospitality sector also needs its own Minister as we currently fall between two ministries. This will be debated in the House of Commons on the 11th of January so it’s important we act quickly.
Whilst most of our members are open and trading, all of us have been affected by the pandemic and Hospitality and Tourism make up the third largest industry in the UK. If allowed to flourish it could be vital in playing a part in the recovery of the economy and providing vital jobs and training.
UK Hospitality are calling for targeted support packages for businesses badly affected and for a road map to lead us out of the current situation. This is something we feel fish and chip businesses should get behind.
The key points of the letter are:
• Extend the reduced VAT rate to the end of 2021 and potentially beyond, enabling businesses to plan for survival and invest to safeguard jobs and, when reopening is possible, to stimulate consumer confidence and demand.
• Extend the Business Rates holiday for hospitality to the end of 2021; as with VAT, this would free up investment to repair businesses.
• Create a Hospitality and Tourism Recovery Fund; a specific fund to boost sectoral recovery, to fill the £2.1 billion black hole in the hospitality businesses’ budgets left by the absence of the Job Retention Bonus. This could be partly funded via the business rates relief that supermarkets returned to Government.
• Develop a roadmap out of the tier system; hospitality invested heavily to create COVID-secure venues – this should be recognised. In July and August 2020, UKH surveyed 2,522 venues, employing a total of 358,000 people and covering 250 million customer visits; there were only 1,728 infections across 20m work shifts; 72% of the public are satisfied with COVID-safe measures in hospitality venues. The Government must work with businesses to create a pathway towards reopening.
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Back in January 2020 the NFFF wrote to the Prime Minister to make him aware of the pressure VAT puts on our industry and that it is unfair that most of our inputs are zero rated whereas our outputs attract VAT.