Martin Bradnam, chair of the Hospitality Association York, welcomed many of the Chancellor’s measures – with caveats.
“With hotels only able to open and trade potentially from May 2021 there are many risks,” he told YorkMix.
“International travel and the travel trade is unlikely to return in 2021, with many postponing trips until 2022.
“Business travel has been limited with many large companies placing travel bans on any travel. Conferences and events have been limited and may start some form of recovery, likely from September onwards.”
So he welcomed the furlough extension – but felt it could have been extended further.
“It is great that this is continuing. But September is mid recovery and it is shame this has not gone further to support businesses for longer, to January or February.
“There are some risks around employer contributions. Time will tell – dependent on the speed of the recovery and return to the mix of travel.”
The £18k grants “are appreciated – as long as access to these is supported and quick. Last time this was through the local council and was quickly accessed.”
On the hospitality business rates being cut till the end June, he said this “positive approach and will be key during initial reopening. I would have preferred to see an interim reduction until the return to full rates.
“In York, it is expected the market will not recover until July/August 2021.”
The 5% reduced rate of VAT will be extended for six months to September 30, which is “exceptionally positive and will really support the challenge of lower room rates, and support businesses to support employees. This is really welcomed and appropriate.”
Martin described the apprentice hire scheme as “positive for the industry. I am optimistic there may be more demand for this scheme moving forward. In the past hospitality has struggled to fulfil apprenticeship quotas.”