SAVING HOSPITALITY: Did the budget do enough for struggling businesses?
Hospitality business owners welcome a reduced VAT rate and grants but still face tough times following what many felt was a underwhelming budget.
Policies to support the sector announced in the budget included a six-month VAT rate extension for leisure and hospitality businesses at a cost of £5 billion to treasury coffers. The reduction down from the usual 20% rate will now be extended to September, followed by an 12.5% interim rate until April 2022.
Restart grants of up to £18,000 can also be applied for and a moratorium on business rates payments will be extended until the end of June whilst alcohol duty is frozen for the second year running.
Dani Hadley together with her family runs two venues on Broad Street in Birmingham. Velvet Music Rooms and Sugar Suite Exclusive Nightclub. She felt the Chancellor did not do enough to address the huge deficits businesses in the sector had faced although she did welcome the framework to support a return to opening.
Dani’s businesses are at the centre of the Westside Business Improvement District, the largest entertainment destination in the Midlands. Mike Olley manages the BID, he welcomed many of the measures for the short term but expressed concerns regarding other measures including the rise in corporation tax.
It’s been a tougher time for many in Westside. Construction of the Midland Metro extension has brought a sustained period of disruption with the pandemic only adding to business owners woes. The new tram line is planned to be completed in the near future and it is hoped the extension which will initially terminate at Five Ways will bring much needed custom to the district.
The tramline is part of a scheme to improve the whole of Broad Street. Once completed the area will have wider pavements and reduced traffic which it is hoped will lead to a continental style cafe culture.
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