Government must use budget to support hospitality industry – Lockhart

DUP MP for Upper Bann Carla Lockhart has called on the Treasury to reduce the rate of VAT for the hospitality sector, to provide much needed ‘breathing space’ for the sector amid ongoing pressures on businesses to survive.
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Carla Lockhart said: “The Government ought to know that our hospitality sector across the United Kingdom is facing extremely challenging market conditions, following four years of unprecedented pressures, including rising costs and the disruption of the pandemic.

"Data in the British Chamber of Commerce’s most recent Quarterly Economic Survey showed the hospitality sector to be effectively in recession. Consequentially, on a weekly basis, hospitality providers are exiting the industry, seeing no immediate or sustainable medium to long term future for their business,” the MP added.

"With a Budget planned for March 6, I wrote to the Chancellor to implore him to consider a reduction in VAT in the sector to five per cent, as was done during the aftermath of the pandemic. This would offer some much needed relief for those within the hospitality sector, as they look to weather this current storm of increased costs, challenging interest rates and labour shortages.

Upper Bann MP Carla LockhartUpper Bann MP Carla Lockhart
Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart

"Sadly the Government seem unwilling to recognise the severity of the situation within the sector, having received a rather downbeat response from Treasury. I would urge the Chancellor to reconsider. Many household incomes depend on hospitality, and many towns and villages rely on hospitality to help drive footfall to all businesses. They need help, and the Government should step up.”