A new survey revealed one in 10 hospitality leaders believe their businesses will collapse if no additional government support is announced in next week’s UK budget, while 31% anticipate shutting some sites permanently.

The CGA Business Leaders’ Survey 2021, which was conducted in collaboration with trade groups UK Hospitality, British Beer and Pub Association and British Institute of Innkeeping, featured input from business leaders across the industry.

It found that more than a third (37%) think their businesses can return to profit this year without renewed support.

The survey noted that there was some optimism from leaders as the hospitality sector is due to reopen in the coming months. Half (51%) of business leaders said they were confident about prospects for the sector over the next year. This figure was significantly higher than the 14% who felt the same way in November. The number of leaders who feel confident about their own businesses has also doubled, from 27% to 54%.

Furthermore, 59% of owners expect to open new sites in 2021 – an increase of 11% on those who said the same in November. However, 31% anticipate keeping some sites closed for good.

Phil Tate, group CEO at CGA, said: “This survey shows business leaders will be walking a tightrope in 2021. Nearly 12 months on from hospitality’s first compulsory closure, many thousands of venues and jobs have now been lost for good. But it’s also encouraging to see that many businesses are optimistic about long-term prospects, and confident enough to be thinking about opening rather than closing sites. It’s clear that a year of significant churn lies ahead, and as in all periods of crisis there will be winners as well as losers.”

Just over four-fifths of leaders (81%) believe hospitality can make a positive contribution to the UK’s recovery from Covid-19 by boosting the economy, while 87% believe their measures have been effective in keeping guests and staff safe following previous lockdowns.

Due to be held on 3 March, the UK budget will set out more details on financial support for the nation as it navigates the pandemic. Hospitality has been one of the hardest hit sectors.

Hospitality operators believe that there needs to be more government support between now and the proposed reopening date for venues. The survey found the top priorities are the business rates holiday, VAT reductions and the furlough scheme, and there were also ‘widespread’ calls for an increase in business grants.

Tate added: “Support from government, investors, suppliers and landlords alike will be vital if hospitality is to play a full part in our country’s economic revival in 2021 and beyond.”
Via The Spirits Business
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