Hospitality businesses in budget-aid plea to Sunak

Nearly half of small businesses in the hospitality and property sectors are calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the government’s financial support package for the sector in next month’s Budget as they struggle to stay afloat.

A survey of 500 companies by an SME business bank, found that many bosses want the continuation of initiatives such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Furlough Scheme, many of which are due to finish at the end of March.

When firms were asked what support for small businesses they would like to see announced in the Budget on 3 March, researchers for Recognise Bank found:

  • 31% want to see an extension to CBILS, rising to 47% of firms in the hospitality sector
  • 28% want the government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) to be extended, rising to 40% of retailers and 45% of property firms
  • 26% want the 5% reduced rate of VAT for the hospitality sector to be extended, unsurprisingly this rose to 45% of businesses in the hospitality industry itself
  • 24% want an extension to the furlough scheme, which again rose in those sectors mostly badly hit, up to 31% of retail firms and 47% of hospitality businesses

Jason Oakley, CEO of Recognise Bank, said that while confidence is returning to the small business sector, many SMEs will need continued support over the coming months.

He said: “Since we opened our doors in November last year, we have already received over £200m worth of requests for lending from small and medium sized businesses, so there is clearly an appetite to fund continued growth or to reconfigure the way they operate in the new business environment.

“However, for many SMEs, the financial support the government has offered over the past 12 months has been a lifeline. Now, as we are finally starting to see light at the end of the lockdown tunnel, extending this help for a little longer could be just what many small and medium sized businesses need to help set up the UK economy for a post COVID-19 recovery.”

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