Mere tinkering will not end high street woes
29 October 2018
Posted by: Chris Banks
UKHospitality today commented on reports that the Chancellor is set to announce plans to cut business rates bills for small retailers, and accompanying reports that he will also unveil changes to allow weddings to take place in more venues.
Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality CEO, said “Of course we welcome any measures to ease the shockingly high costs that face hospitality operators face. But these steps alone would be akin to tackling a forest fire with a water pistol – the Budget must deliver much more if high streets across Britain are to reverse the acute downturn we are witnessing. These measures ignore the fact that the current system doesn't properly assess small businesses. This is the flaw in the whole system - rateable value does not reflect profitability.
“Reliefs for business rates sufferers may be the only immediate step available but the only ways to build confidence and investment in the longer term is a radical overhaul of the business rates system and measures to level the playing field between digital and other businesses. These are central asks of our Aim High campaign.
“Similarly, enabling more venues to host weddings is something many businesses will appreciate but rather ignores the scale of attention the underlying causes of high street decline urgently needs. It is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Tinkering will get us nowhere – it’s time for fundamental change to save high streets and allow hospitality to grow and generate prosperity for Britain.
Notes to editors
- UKHospitality is the new trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, established following a merger approved in February 2018 between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA)
- UKHospitality is the authoritative voice for over 700 companies, operating around 65,000 venues in a sector that employs 3.2 million people
- The body speaks on behalf of a wide range of leisure and ‘out-of-home’ businesses, from FTSE 100 enterprises to niche groups and independent single-site operators
- For the first time, the sector has a single voice bringing together businesses from all aspects of hospitality; coffee shops, hotels, serviced apartments, pubs, restaurants, leisure parks, nightclubs, contract caterers, entertainment, stadia and visitor attractions
- Engaging with government, the media and the public, UKHospitality works to develop a robust case on how to unlock the industry’s full potential as the biggest engine for growth in the economy and ensure that the industry’s needs are effectively represented
- The sector creates £130bn in economic activity and generates £38bn of tax for the Exchequer, funding vital services
- Hospitality represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP
- Hospitality is the 3rd largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined
- Member benefits include free advice and expert guidance on regulation, finance and health and safety as well as savings on services from carefully selected business partners.