Gloucester unites to call on Government to help save hospitality sector as we know it
Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel and Alok Sharman should by now have received a frank letter from a united Gloucester city centre calling for vital decisions to be made to save its hospitality sector.
The leader of the Gloucester’s LVA, which represents its eclectic night time economy and licensing trade, the chairman of the emerging city centre business group Gloucester BID and the leaders of the city council have all signed the missive.
It is understood a supportive Gloucester MP Richard Graham agreed to take the letter, which addresses immediate pressures on the city as a result of the pandemic lockdown, to the aforementioned heads of Government himself.
The signatories' call for three key points to be addresses, increased financial support (lending their weight to national calls for a temporary drop in VAT), for a relaxation of the two-metre social distancing rule and clarity on the opening date for the licencing trade.
The letter (see below) is supportive, but also candid in its assessment of the situation.
“Without additional financial support it is estimated 40 per cent of the membership of the LVA (Licenced Victuallers Association) in Gloucester are likely to never reopen.
“Is the reopening of venues cannot be guaranteed imminently for the end of June/beginning of July 2020 we would ask that the treasury consider the issuing of additional grant for the impacted businesses.”
Justin Hudson, chairman of Gloucester LVA and vice chairman of City Safe and the owner of popular Butlers nightclub in Eastgate Street, said: “This is about saving our hospitality industry. We are not looking to ride roughshod over the necessary measures we agree we need to keep people - our customers and staff safe.
"At Butlers we have been working hard to put in place measures which meet the requirements, but without a reduction from two-metre to one metre it will be very difficult.
"Even if we can only to 30 per cent capacity that would allow us to get back up and open, build confidence and keep the business running.
"We would not make any money from that. It is the VAT that could cripple the sector yet, anything we might make would immediately be taken away. But a reduction to five per cent would help us build and allow us to pay into the system as well.
"The various loans, grant's and schemes have been really good and the city council should be commended for the speed with which it delivered for business. It was incredible.
"But that money came in April, it is now June and it is running out."
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