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Furlough extended: more help needed

UKHospitality has welcomed the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of March but warned that the sector faces a tough winter and will need more support to ensure businesses survive it.

Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality says: “Extending the furlough scheme is a big boost and will help secure hospitality jobs in the medium term across the whole of the UK. Keeping jobs alive during this lockdown and throughout a bleak-looking winter period, which is likely to see businesses trading under severe restrictions, is key to the future survival of the sector.”

Enhanced grant support and a solution to the ongoing rent debt problem that continues to linger over the hospitality, is also needed, she says. “These must come alongside a clear roadmap for a return to business. Without these, the extended furlough scheme alone is not enough to keep hospitality alive and will have been a wasted investment of public funds.

“Surviving the winter is just the first step, too. Beyond that we need action to ensure that businesses can be revived and the sector can play its part in rebuilding the economy. Extending the VAT cut and business rates holiday, coupled with extensive Government promotion of tourism and hospitality, will be the bare minimum required.”

UKHospitality has also welcomed as ‘common sense’ guidance that England’s hotels, pubs, and restaurants can sell pre-ordered takeaway alcohol during the lockdown until December 2. ‘Click and collect’ customers cannot enter the premises but must pick up orders from outside.