James Simmonds, head of UHY Hacker Young’s national drinks sector group and partner at its Nottingham office, said: “Sunak has announced that the business rates holiday has been extended to end of June 2021, which is great for the food and drink sector. However, many pubs, bars and restaurants may not be able to open until 21 June under the government’s current roadmap so, while this extension will be welcomed by the industry, it may not relieve many hospitality businesses from rent debt.
“The government also announced the continuation of the reduced VAT rate of 5% until 30 September 2021, along with an interim rate of 12.5% for a further six months to allow the consumer to pay reduced prices at the business’ discretion.
“Restart grants of up to £18,000 for hospitality businesses will also be welcomed – however, this sum is to the rateable value of the business’ property assets so the grant could be as low as £8,000 for smaller premises.
“The continuation of the freeze on alcohol duties for the second consecutive year will hopefully keep the consumer from paying increased prices and incentivise a return to pubs, bars and restaurants post-Covid.
“Additionally, the introduction of a community ownership fund will allow communities across the UK to invest in and protect what matters most to their area, which in many places may well be the local pub or hospitality business – something that could also bring benefits to the industry.”
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