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Calls for support to protect Welsh hospitality

Photo credit: Matthew Horwood

The hospitality industry faces what could be an existential crisis for many vital businesses across Wales if it doesn’t receive further Government support.

That’s the key response of UKHospitality Cymru to the publication of Senedd Cymru’s Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee report – Raising the Bar: Securing the future of Hospitality, Tourism and Retail.

“I am sure that every Senedd member has had reports of a local pub closing in recent weeks,” said David Chapman, Executive Director of UKHospitality Cymru. “For twenty years I’ve had three within a two-mile radius of home – in ten days’ time all three will have gone and I’ll have no local pub,” he added.

“The next six months is shaping up to be at least as hard to deal with as the worst Covid months were for these local businesses.

“Throughout Wales, our community hubs are beginning to disappear as energy, food and drink prices reach heights that are unsustainable. Our customers are suffering as well and are looking to rein in their spending in advance of Christmas and New Year. Not only that but around the corner we have the fallow months of January and February, which brings with it even more business uncertainty.”

Mr Chapman said UKHospitality Cymru had raised the cost of doing business crisis when giving evidence to the report in the Spring. In that evidence, it called for direct help with business rates reform, an extension of the business rates holiday for hospitality businesses and a halt to plans to introduce a Visitor Levy in Wales.

“Let’s not forget that, before it was blighted by Covid, this industry was growing at 10% a year, creating thousands of local jobs for local people, young and old, across Wales.

“We’re saying that there is another way. Together, Welsh Government and UKHospitality Cymru’s members have a chance to reboot this industry with smart support and fair adjustments to existing costs like business rates.

“We applaud the Minister’s announcement of a reassessment of the principles behind business rates and the chance to examine new ways of raising this essential revenue. Let’s look radically at how we can save, nurture and support these community assets to help them bounce-back to boost our economy,” said Mr Chapman.