Government announces woeful hospitality support scheme
The Conservative government have announced a new package of support for hospitality businesses that falls far short of what businesses need to deal with increasing COVID restrictions and a loss of Christmas customers. Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats are demanding more so that local businesses can survive through the winter.
Commenting on this recent announcement, Portfolio Holder for Town Centres & Planning Councillor Henry Vann said "Across Bedford Borough we know just how hard our local shops and traders have worked to stay safe, stay open and stay kind at every step of the pandemic. For the Conservative government to offer them this feeble one-off grant in their hour of need is a disgrace.
"£6,000 barely covers one evening of trading for many hospitality businesses who take 20-25% of their yearly revenue in December. It is simply far too little, too late."
The Liberal Democrats are calling for an urgent £4.5 billion package of tax cuts for local businesses to help high streets across the UK survive the winter. This package would see the reinstatement of the emergency 5% rate of VAT for hospitality, accommodation and attractions and 100% business rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. These changes would offer a vital lifeline to over 1,000 businesses across Bedford Borough and over 800,000 across the country.
Councillor Vann continued "This is an insult to pubs and restaurants on the brink. The Chancellor must be living on another planet if he thinks this is enough support for our amazing, hard-working hospitality firms who have seen their Christmas bookings fall off the cliff in recent weeks.
"It is also so disappointing that the Conservatives have yet again failed to offer support for freelancers and the self-employed, despite the official advice telling us all to work from home and be more cautious.
"The Lib Dems are on the side of local businesses and our high streets. Our plan would cut their taxes and reform business rates in the long term and we will continue to fight to get them the support they need."