The chief executive and group chairman of Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna, is urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the government to re-introduce some financial support packages for businesses, as the imposition of new restrictions threatens many with closure.
Mr McKenna said: “Many of our members in the hospitality sector are reporting a huge spike in cancellations. The not so subtle messaging from government is for people to stay at home – and understandably, many are taking that advice.
“It is therefore incumbent upon the government to look at reviving some financial support packages that were stopped back in the Autumn, when they suggested that we had seen Covid off.”
The three measures Mr McKenna is calling on the Chancellor to implement are:
- A six-month delay in the repayment of ‘bounce back’ loans.
- The extension of the VAT cut within the hospitality sector to 12% for at least twelve months.
- Targeted furlough support for those hardest hit industries.
Mr McKenna added:
“We understand that the government does not have a bottomless pit of money. Nonetheless, having done a significant amount to save businesses through the initial months of this crisis, it seems odd that the government would now want to write off that investment, and allow a large number of companies, who are clearly viable in normal times, to go to the wall.
“I hope that the increasing number of calls that are being made from across the business community are listened to by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. There is no shortage of evidence telling them that their new rules have inevitably led to the hospitality sector – and its wider supply chain – taking a massive hit. They must act now and stop this from being a catastrophic Christmas for those businesses and their staff.”