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A letter to the Prime Minister

This is the basis of the letter I wrote yesterday to the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary of State for Business and the MP's for each of the constituency our investments have trading businesses. If you are a hospitality business owner or executive, I recommend you do the same if you can. Better to do something than nothing!


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15th March 2020


The Rt. Honourable Boris Johnson, MP Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA


Dear Mr Johnson,


RE: GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS I am writing as a hospitality business owner and investor working with and owning hospitality businesses in the UK and overseas.


The hospitality sector needs urgent government intervention with immediate actions to help make sure we sector survive the Coronavirus outbreak.


We are already seeing 20-35% drops in footfall and sales, as reported by our partner Wireless Social, I attach the information for yesterday. We expect this situation to get worse, with the increased US travel ban, cancellations of major events, low consumer confidence with heath concerns and the potential for forced periods of closure.


Hospitality is not like retail, we are cash businesses, the intangibility means if we don’t sell a seat or bed today, it can’t be sold tomorrow. It’s not goods sitting on shelves. We have low margins and things have already been challenging with Brexit and the headwind of costs over the past few years.


We need the government to follow UK Hospitality’s advice and provide the following support to the sector;

o Immediately suspending business rates payments for all hospitality businesses for this year

o Extending Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) coverage to hospitality businesses of all size

o Short-terms subsidies of staff wages where trade falls markedly

o Industry suppliers, including landlords, must be discouraged from pursuing businesses for arrears


The government should look to the support being given in Denmark and Ireland as a benchmark for what is possible, and the support being provided in other countries.


If something doesn’t happen there will be closures and massive job losses within the 3.2m people employed in our sector.


We are the heartbeat of the nation, part of the social fabric. We are where people socialise, propose, go out to have great times. People will need us more than ever once this is over.

Please help us to be a voice of our sector in the cabinet and help our sector survive.


Kind regards,


James Hacon

Chief Executive

THINK Hospitality Group