Grant us the right to survive

With the UK hospitality sector bracing itself for a £4bn hit in festive sales, the new ‘work from home’ directive is killing off the sector this Christmas. Industry bosses believe reintroducing the ‘work from home’ guidance will diminish consumer confidence, resulting in widespread cancellations of bookings during the critical festive trading period. 

Sheffield BID has joined the call for urgent financial support to soften the blow to Christmas trading from new COVID guidelines by redirecting unspent grants available to the sector or by introducing new alternatives such as a discretionary fund to be administered by local authorities. 

Diane Jarvis, Head of Business Operations at Sheffield BID said, “Plan B is a blow to a lot of businesses as this is one of the most important times of the year for many. It is likely to reduce consumer confidence leading to an uncertain new year for many. 

“The new measures will have a devastating impact on those industries who have borne the brunt of restrictions over the past 18 months, and who are now being asked to do so again. 

“Government must recognise that recent delays and indecision in responding to the growing trend of cases particularly with respect to Omicron has now left our high streets reeling from the recent announcements. The devastating impact of reintroducing ‘work from home’ guidance will lead to a further reduction in consumer confidence which will undoubtedly mean the cancellation of Christmas parties and gatherings during the festive period and a very hard January for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. 

"Government must meet business halfway and introduce financial support such as a discretionary fund or the repurposing of The Additional Restrictions Grant fund and allocate to businesses most affected during the busiest time of the year. Without it, we could see further closures in our city centre.” 

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality said, “The measures announced last week will significantly impact consumer confidence and be particularly devastating to city and town centre venues. As such, they risk devastating the hospitality sector amid its most important time of the year. We therefore desperately need support if we are to survive this latest set of restrictions and urge the government to stand behind our industry. That means full business rates relief, grants, rent protection and extended VAT reductions. Anything less would prove catastrophic.”

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