Hospitality businesses in the UK need “a clear road map” to help them emerge successfully from the Covid-19 pandemic says MP Damien Moore.
The Southport Conservative MP is also calling for VAT support to be extended and for the creation of a new hospitality and tourism recovery fund for the sector which he says has been “hardest hit” by the Coronavirus crisis.
The MP also said the short notice that pubs, cafes, hotels, restaurants, leisure facilities and attractions have been given before being put into and being removed from lockdowns, without sufficient time to prepare for either, was “quite wrong”.
Southport has a thriving hospitality sector, boosted in part by the 9.1million visitors who enjoyed what the resort has to offer in 2019, the year before the Covid pandemic.
Mr Moore spoke on the sector’s behalf in a speech on Hospitality Industry: Government Support in Westminster Hall on Monday (11 January).
He said: “We need a clear road map. We want to work in collaboration with the hospitality industry.
“The short notice that we have been giving some of these businesses has been quite wrong.
“We must not say it on a Thursday if the pubs have to close on the Saturday – and then throw all the beer away. Similarly, we must not ask them to open on a Thursday when they have no beer brewed. We need to work with them, staging the points at which they will open those businesses.
“We want to ensure that people feel satisfied. In nearly every survey that has come back, people were satisfied with the Covid security in these businesses. We need to extend the VAT support. We need to look at business rates, of course.
“Beer duty is something that keeps coming up and it is important. A hospitality and tourism recovery fund would help.
“Giving the industry a voice and a seat at the table with the decision makers is absolutely vital – it is critical.”
Damien Moore highlighted the importance of local hospitality venues to the community.
He said: “Of all the different sectors that have been coping with this pandemic, the hardest hit has probably been the hospitality sector.
“Pubs are not just a business; ‘the local’ is a centre of the community. It helps people. It helps their wellbeing. It quite often helps them to feel more connected to the outside world.
“My resort constituency of Southport is a centre of hospitality, and has been for over 150 years.
“A third of all my businesses in the constituency are based around hospitality, supporting jobs.