UKHospitality welcomes pragmatic evolution of furlough scheme
29 May 2020
Posted by: Chris Banks
Commenting on this evening’s announcement of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“This is a positive and pragmatic step towards reopening the economy while recognising that this recovery will take time, particularly in hospitality. Giving businesses increased flexibility from the start of July is extremely welcome as hospitality looks to reopen its doors to the public. The move, which UKHospitality had been calling for, will allow more people back to work on a part-time basis and help venues ensure safety for customers and staff. Flexibility is going to be crucial if businesses are to open and be economically viable with social distancing measures in place.
“The introduction of employer contributions to the scheme from August will put some businesses under particular strain, but the way it is tapered allows for a gradual adjustment. Further support for the self-employed is also helpful for many in our sector.
“The Government still needs to recognise that these costs will be difficult for hospitality businesses to bear, and consider other measures to support the sector. This must include brokering a solution on rents, with Treasury contributions if necessary, and considering further grants to support businesses to reopen.
“If we can find a solution on rents and get an extension of the grant scheme, this will mitigate much of the impact of the reduced furlough. If we do not, a very difficult Spring would become a disastrous Summer for hospitality.
“We hope the Government bears in mind that many high street businesses will be reopening in the next couple of weeks, whereas hospitality will be forced to survive for an additional month, at the very least, on this reduced form of furlough.”