Liverpool Hospitality Association – a collective of over 100 local businesses – has written an impassioned letter to the government and more specifically The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in a bid to save the city’s restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions.
Chaired by chef and owner of The Arts School Restaurant, Paul Askew, the LHA details how the Coronavirus pandemic is leaving the city’s hospitality businesses ‘in a position that they may not survive’.
Lockdown and social distancing measures have seen the nation’s hospitality sector either completely closed or with tough restrictions, and the Liverpool Hospitality Association highlights that the industry will be one of the last to reopen and when it does it will still be ‘heavily influenced by the social distancing mandate’.
The LHA is made up of some of the city’s most successful and much-loved businesses including the Arts School Restaurant, Graffiti Spirits Group (Duke Street Market, Bold Street Coffee, Salt Dog Slims, 81 Ltd, Slim’s, Santa Chupitos, Maluco Pizzeria, El Bandito, Castle Street Coffee and Super Megabite), Maray, Red and Blue Restaurants (Salt House Tapas, Bacaro, Hanover Street Social and Rocket & Ruby), Paul Moran of Living Ventures and many others.
The Liverpool Hospitality Association’s emotional letter details how hopes of Liverpool’s businesses ‘now hang in tatters’ and how so many local people have ‘grafted for years, fighting for survival’ and how ‘begging does not come easily. Yet here we are on bended knee.”
The letter asks for support in the following:
- #NationalTimeOut initiative supporting rent payments to landlords for a 9 month period without being added to the end of the lease.
- #RasieTheBar initiative – raising the current £51k threshold to £151k for business rate grants.
- Furlough Pay Review – a review of measures for the hospitality sector considering the expected long-term timescales for recovery.
- Directors of Limited Companies be in line with self-employed – allowing dividends to be considered via company records, not just basic PAYE pay.
- VAT reduction – a reduction in VAT for all Visitor Economy sector to 10% for a minimum 12 month period.
- Insurance companies held accountable (many hospitality businesses have been advised they’re not covered as COVID-19 isn’t mentioned in their policies).
- CBILS movement on 100% Government back up to £100k (many have been unable to be accepted due to new venues, small profits, past history or future concern of longevity in the environment).
Paul Askew, Chair of the LHA and owner of The Arts School, said: “COVID-19 has created unprecedented circumstances for all, and for the hospitality industry, there are extraordinarily uncertain times ahead. We’ll be one of the last sectors to reopen and even then, our new normal will be a stark contrast to the busy and bustling venues we’re used to.
“Liverpool’s hospitality sector has a visitor economy worth £4.9bn and we provide over 57,000 jobs and to ensure that collectively this is possible moving forward, we’ll need long-term support from the government.”
Matt Farrell, co-founder of Graffiti Spirits Group, added: “Hospitality businesses are ‘cultural banks’, and as with many other services, are there for the community as much as they are for the business owners. They will need ongoing help and support to be there when society is ready. Supporting and following this cause is categorically the only way to help survival.”