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04 May 2020

MPs write to chancellor demanding more support for tourism and hospitality

Nearly a hundred members of parliament (MP) have written a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak, asking the government to "do more" to protect the UK tourism and hospitality industry.

The letter, sent in by 85 MPs, outlines a number of additional support measures, in order to protect the more than six million jobs across the industry.

"The tourism and hospitality sectors play a significant role in the UK economy, providing 3.1m and 3.2m supported jobs respectively, as well as contributing billions of pounds to our local and national economies," the letter reads.

"These were the first sectors to be significantly adversely impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown and they are likely to be the last sectors to reopen.

"We welcome the measures already in place to support these industries. That said, further support will be needed to ensure that these sectors are able to survive."

In the letter, the MPs set out a number of temporary measures, which they say would further safeguard the sectors.

These include extending the business rate relief threshold from £50,000 to £150,000, reduce the rate of VAT on tourism to 5 per cent and to introduce VAT rebates for taxes already paid.

Others include lengthening the furlough scheme beyond the end of the lockdown – and building in flexibility into the furloughing system – and creating tailored support to hospitality and tourism businesses.

The letter was sent after The UK hospitality sector saw sales decline 21.3 by in the first quarter of 2020, as the country and the industry moved into COVID-19 lockdown.

According to Kate Nicholls, CEO of industry body UK Hospitality, the sector is among the worst hit by the pandemic – and that the lockdown came at a time when the industry had been experiencing healthy growth.

"At the end of December, the industry had seen year-on-year growth running at +3.9 per cent – the turnaround has been dramatic and will only get worse in the coming quarter," Nicholls said.

"A continuation of business support is the only way to avoid a bloodbath of job losses and company failures in the hospitality sector, one of the UK economy’s jewels in the crown.”

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