UKHospitality and UKHospitality Scotland responds to Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget announcement…
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
“With hospitality businesses continuing to struggle with vacancies running at 56% higher than pre-pandemic levels, the measures announced today are significant in incentivising people back into work and hopefully alleviating crippling labour shortages. The wider economic forecasts also give us encouragement that consumer confidence and spending are in for an upturn, albeit over time.
“The significant reforms to childcare and the measures to help the over 50s re-enter the workforce are both areas on which UKHospitality has been calling for action and we’re pleased the Chancellor has recognised the help it can offer tackling the enormous vacancies in hospitality.
“Maintaining current levels of energy support to consumers, freezing fuel duty and inflation reducing will help hard-pressed households and increase disposable income, which will be a huge boost for venues in desperate need of trade.
“This will be particularly needed as the sector is still set to see huge energy price increases when current support ends in April, which unfortunately was not addressed. It remains the case that we need to see urgent action on the market failures identified by Ofgem in its non-domestic review update yesterday. The current timeline of further action by the summer is not good enough.
“The reduction in draught duty is positive and we hope this will incentivise more visits to our pubs, restaurants and hotel bars. Addressing draught duty is a good start and I would urge the Government to consider rolling out this type of tax cut across the wider drinks market.
“With duty primarily paid by suppliers, such as breweries, it’s essential that any benefit is passed through to venues to help deliver the Government’s objective of reducing inflation and growing the economy."
UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Leon Thompson said:
“I’m pleased that the Chancellor was able to introduce measures in today’s Budget that will benefit Scottish hospitality businesses.
“The additional funding for the Edinburgh Festivals is well deserved and will help bolster the world’s leading arts events, which are a huge draw for visitors from across the world and will provide a timely boost to Scottish tourism.
“The measures to incentivise both parents and the over 50s back into work is positive and recognises UKHospitality’s calls for the Government to help the economically inactive back into work. However, the unique demographics of Scotland, particularly in our rural areas, means the sheer lack of people of any working age remains a major concern for venues.
“With the Budget resulting in £320 million being allocated to the Scottish Government in Barnett consequentials, there needs to be a firm commitment that some of this money will be earmarked for business support. Allocating some of this money to support our businesses should be a priority for the incoming First Minister, getting the new relationship between the Scottish Government and hospitality off to a good start.”