The hospitality industry reacts to Budget 2020

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has outlined big plans for the UK’s hospitality sector in today’s 2020 Budget, as the industry braces itself for the damaging effects of Covid-19.

The report, which is available to access in full via, takes place against the backdrop of the global outbreak of the coronavirus, officially Covid-19.

The Chancellor has taken a number of steps to support and protect the hospitality industry, including freezing alcohol duties for spirits, wine and beer and abolishing business rates for businesses for the financial year. A number of loans and grants will also be available, depending on the size of businesses.

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A spokesperson for Heineken UK said:

“Licensees and drinkers up and down the UK will be raising a pint to the Chancellor tonight for freezing beer and cider duty – supporting the great British institution, the pub.

“Furthermore, the newly announced increase in the business rates discount for pubs from £1,000 to £5,000 will help secure a brighter future for thousands of pubs – pubs that are at the heart of communities across the nation.”

Peter Marks, chief executive of The Deltic Group, said:

“Deltic welcomes various aspects of today’s Budget. We are encouraged by the freeze on alcohol duties as well as plans to increase investment across the UK.

“The Chancellor’s proposed review of the long-term future of business rates is a step in the right direction in helping safeguard the late night leisure sector, which contributes £66bn to the UK’s GDP.”

Paul Sullivan, head of sales and marketing at LBW Drinks, said:

“We’re delighted with the Chancellor’s decision to freeze all alcohol duties. As a growing business that operates across wine, spirits and cider, this is absolutely essential to us and will help to support our plans to further develop LBW Drinks.

“Duty still remains a massive burden for drinkers and the drinks industry, with rates in the UK being one of the highest in Europe. Today’s announcement is an encouraging step in the right direction, but we will continue to urge for more reviews into duty rates. We especially feel that additional categories to provide a more relevant, fit for purpose and competitive regime are needed.

“It was also great to hear the decision to provide business rate relief for small retailers and pubs. We welcome any decision to support the sustainability of the independent drinks sector that are vital for our business and communities across the UK.”

Gareth Ogden, partner at haysmacintyre, said:

“There is certainly some good news in today’s budget for the UK’s hospitality sector. Significant business rate relief for all small businesses in the sector as well as the enhanced business rates discount for pubs will be welcomed, albeit these are short term measures to counter the impact of coronavirus in the coming months.

“There is, however, a promise of a review of the long-term future of business rates to be concluded by the autumn, which has long been demanded by operators.

“The freeze on spirits, beer, cider and wine duties will also be welcomed and the coronavirus loan fund, as well as assistance with statutory sick pay, may help to alleviate very real concerns the sector has over the economic effects of Covid-19. Whether it will be enough to stave off a new wave of business failures remains to be seen.”

Dayalan Nayager, managing director, Diageo Great Britain, Ireland & France, said:

“We welcome the Chancellor’s duty freeze which will provide much needed stability in these difficult times for the industry.

“We are delighted that he announced his intention to reform the duty system to bring fairness for gin and scotch whisky, which should ensure that these iconic home grown products no longer face punitive levels of tax.

“Drinkers across the country will raise a toast to the Chancellor tonight. The Government’s measures to help the hospitality and retail sectors will also be a welcome move for our customers, their employees and consumers in general.”

Neil Pattison, Director at the UK’s biggest hospitality jobs board,, said:

“The hospitality sector welcomes the news that the Government will exempt businesses from paying National Insurance Contributions if they hire forces veterans. Hospitality is already very active in helping veterans back into work and with an anticipated 1.2 million hospitality vacancies by 2024, there is plenty of scope for restaurants, pubs and hotels across the country to help veterans re-enter civilian life while also tackling the labour shortage. The potential positive impact these individuals can have on hospitality businesses is significant. Our latest research shows that 1 in 2 customers would be more likely to visit a restaurant if it hired veterans.

“Our sector has proved that, with the right programmes in place and support from charities like Only A Pavement Away, businesses have a lot to gain from employing veterans. We hope that the Chancellor’s announcement will encourage more employers to follow suit.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:

“Pub-goers across the UK will be toasting the Chancellor tonight for freezing beer duty. This freeze alone will save £80 million and secure 2,000 vital jobs across the country.

“82% of the beer we drink here is brewed in the UK, so this is a very welcome decision that will help pubs and brewers across the UK. Cheers to the Chancellor!

“At the beginning of the year we welcomed the Government’s decision to cut business rates for the UK’s smallest pubs by £1,000. It is great to see the Chancellor listen to our calls to take this one step further by increasing the relief to £5,000 for pubs with a rateable value up to £100,000.

“The announcement that pubs with a Rateable Value of £51,000 or less will not pay their rates over the next financial year is an enormous boost. For pubs who already pay little or no business rates, a £3,000 small business relief grant is available, which 14,000 pubs could benefit from.

“In total the additional business rates support announced for pubs is worth over £190 million. Pubs pay 2.8% of rates despite accounting for only 0.5% of rateable turnover across the country. Such reliefs are vital until the fundamentally unfair system is overhauled. We therefore welcome the call for evidence on business rates reform announced today, commencing in the spring.

“Following the extensive review into Small Brewer’s Relief, we welcome confirmation that the Government will publish its results in the spring. We hope the Government’s response will recognise the long-standing distortions caused by the current structure, whilst supporting growth among brewers of all sizes.

“Overall, this has been a great Budget for pubs, pub goers and Britain’s world-class brewing industry worth £270 million. We hope the Government continues to support our industry in the future, recognising the vital role it plays in our communities and lives across the UK.”

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