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Hospitality Sector Still ‘Incredibly Fragile’ Despite Business Rates Relief

By Jon Munnery
29 October 2021

Companies within the UK’s hospitality sector remain in a fragile situation financially despite being granted an extension to the 50 per cent relief policy in relation to their business rates.

That’s according to the industry’s main trade body UKHospitality, which has called for the government to do more to support struggling firms within its sector.

Hospitality businesses were generally very badly hit by pandemic-related restrictions in recent quarters and many are facing a tough battle to stay afloat as the economy recovers from the virus crisis.

Indeed, UKHospitality’s chief executive Kate Nicholls has described businesses in her sector as facing a “toxic cocktail” of rising utility bills, wage bills and food and drink costs.

Supply chain problems and labour shortages have also affected a huge number of hospitality businesses in recent months.

Ms Nicholls welcomed recent announcements from the chancellor Rishi Sunak in his Budget speech that a policy of offering 50 per cent business rates relief to the hospitality sector will be maintained.

But she also made clear that operators in her industry remain in real financial peril and in need of continued government support even if the worst of the pandemic restrictions are behind them.

“Hospitality has shown this summer that it has the potential to kickstart the nation’s recovery and deliver jobs, growth and investment at pace across all parts of the country but that could grind to a halt next year,” Ms Nicholls has said. “It can only lead recovery with the right measures of support in place.”

It is widely anticipated that there will be an increase in cases of corporate insolvency and liquidation in the final months of 2021 with restrictions on the use of winding up petitions having been rescinded from October.

Recent months have already seen rises in the number of company directors opting to enter their businesses into liquidation voluntarily and that trend is expected to continue.

Anyone concerned about their company’s cashflows or their capacity to remain solvent in the coming months is advised to seek expert guidance and support in addressing their issues sooner rather than later.

Jonathan Munnery
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert
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