Thank you for contacting me about the “Winter Economic Plan” and additional support for businesses in the hospitality sector. I have read your email carefully and have noted the key points that you raise.
I am extremely sympathetic to the thrust of your concerns and am aware of the challenges that many hospitality businesses have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. I continue to be in close contact with many businesses here in Woking and I am very grateful for the highly responsible approach that they have taken over the past few months. I am also pleased to have been able to give some advice over this difficult period and to relay their most pressing concerns to relevant Ministers.
I welcome the announcement in the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan that the planned increase in the temporarily reduced rate from 5 per cent to 20 per cent on 13th January will be cancelled and the lower rate retained through to 31st March. This will support more than 150,000 businesses and 2.4 million jobs. On top of this, all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will benefit from paying no business rates for this 2020-21 financial year, regardless of their rateable value. This relief applies to over 350,000 properties and is worth almost £10 billion.
In addition, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ran throughout August and I am delighted that over 100 million meals were claimed and that approximately 84,700 restaurants, cafes and pubs signed up. The Business and Planning Act 2020 also enabled hospitality businesses to make the most of summer trading by allowing alfresco dining.
I know that the Chancellor is keeping the situation under close review and I am encouraged that the Government is engaging with industry representatives to monitor the situation and identify what support is needed. I understand that measures will be kept under regular review and I will continue to follow developments closely and raise your further requests with the Treasury.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me about the incredibly difficult situation that pubs and the hospitality sector more generally find themselves in.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking