Home Economy Tom Kerridge leads calls on Jeremy Hunt to act as pubs and restaurants will shut without tax freeze

Tom Kerridge leads calls on Jeremy Hunt to act as pubs and restaurants will shut without tax freeze

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Tom Kerridge is leading calls from the hospitality industry for Jeremy Hunt to freeze taxes for pubs and restaurants, warning of mass closures without action.

The TV chef and more than 200 of Britain’s most senior hospitality chiefs have signed a letter to the Chancellor warning that businesses will close their doors for good if the Government does not call off a planned rise in business rates next year.

Mr Kerridge, who runs a string of pubs and restaurants across the UK, said: “The hospitality industry has taken a battering in recent years.

“The stark reality for many businesses is that with rising costs and ongoing challenges, time is running out and without further support from the Government they will shut their doors.”

Other signatories of the letter to Mr Hunt include fellow TV chefs Monica Galetti, who is a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals, and Tom Aitkens, a judge on the BBC’s Great British Menu.

The bosses of over 230 hospitality companies including Burger King, Fuller’s, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers have also put their names to the letter ahead of the Autumn Statement next week.

Retail and hospitality businesses were given up to 75pc rate relief in 2022 to help with inflation. However, that is set to expire next April.

At the same time, business rates are expected to go up in line with September’s rate of inflation next year.

UK Hospitality said the sector would face a rise of almost £1bn if rates rise as planned.

The lobby group has warned that the sector will struggle to cope at a time when inflation means businesses are under immense pressure. The cost of everything from wages to energy and ingredients has soared, while visits to pubs and restaurants have declined as families manage tight budgets.

383 pubs closed in the first half of 2023, according to advisory firm Altus, compared with 386 that closed over the entire of 2022.

Around 8,500 night clubs and late-night bars also shut in the year to September, according to the Night Time Industries Association.

The letter to Mr Hunt warns: “Without action, we will see continued venue closures, job losses and cancelled investment that will harm our high streets and communities in every part of the country.”

Simon Emeny, the chief executive of pub company Fuller’s, told The Telegraph last month that the rate of closures would be “multiplied tenfold” without an extension to rate relief.

Mr Kerridge has previously said there is little money in the hospitality industry and called for the Government to create a minister for hospitality.

He told The Times in September: “Believe me, if there was a lot of money in hospitality you wouldn’t have 8,000 closures this year.”

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