Chancellor “must do more for business”

CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak needs to offer more support to embattled businesses struggling with rising costs.

That was the message from hospitality industry trade groups, who called on the chancellor to introduce measures to “reduce the cost of doing business” and “stave off the very real threat of ‘tumbleweed’ city and town centres”.

Sunak today (26th May) unveiled a £15 billion support package to help households cope with the rising cost of living. It will include a universal, £400 discount on energy bills as well as a range of payments to low-income households and those receiving disability benefits.

But although those steps were welcomed by hospitality trade groups, they said more needs to be done to support businesses.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said while the financial support “will hopefully shore up some consumer confidence”, businesses “need a commensurate focus to reduce the costs of doing business, to reduce further price rises”.

“The government needs to identify and accelerate policies that will cut costs, minimise red tape and accelerate growth,” said Nicholls.

“A reiteration of its commitment to cut business taxes to incentivise investment in high streets, people and innovation would also help to settle nerves across many sectors, including hospitality. Then we can collectively take a longer term look at the best raft of measures for inclusion in the Autumn Budget.”

And Scottish Licensed Trade Association managing director, Colin Wilkinson, said the chancellor’s announcement “does nothing for hard-pressed businesses”.

“Our hope today was that the chancellor would recognise these issues and announce some measures to help struggling businesses and stave off the very real threat of ‘tumbleweed’ city and town centres,” said Wilkinson.