Alex Demetriou, managing director of Regency Purchasing Group, says urgent and decisive action is needed from the Government to support the hospitality industry during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Following the Prime Minister’s announcements over the past few days regarding social distancing measures for Covid-19, the leisure and hospitality industry needs decisive action to be taken and clarity provided on solutions, as there are a number of pressing issues and questions that we are looking to the Government to answer.
“Most importantly, the biggest issue is looking after our teams. After the advice for people to avoid pubs, clubs and restaurants, many establishments have faced mass cancellations. For some, the prospect of an indefinite period of time with no customers – and so no income – has caused them to close their doors immediately and make staff redundant. Fortunately, this is not the case for everyone…yet.
“The Government’s advice to increase social distancing has clearly been given in the best interest of public health, however, they need to help provide a solution for the sudden drop in income.”
“If the Government provides a solution to paying staff with no income coming into the business, then companies can put a plan in place which will help them stand a greater chance of making it through the coming weeks. The Government’s advice to increase social distancing has clearly been given in the best interest of public health, however, they need to help provide a solution for the sudden drop in income.
“The support being offered by the Government is, in some ways, welcome. The £330 billion worth of loans being offered to help businesses financially may help some through this difficult period however, repaying these loans later on will place further strain on businesses that may already have loans in place and are working to tight margins. Are loans the right solution or should greater emphasis have been placed on grants instead?
“Similarly, the Prime Minister’s step to remove business rates for all leisure and hospitality companies does relieve some of the financial strain. However, for most businesses the largest cost is paying staff and, at the moment, businesses are still paying national insurance contributions on top of this, which is having a huge detrimental impact.