The Central London Alliance has welcomed the Prime Minister’s five-point plan and the removal of government restrictions as of Monday 19 July, but has warned the Chancellor that ‘urgent support’ is still required for specific sectors which include hospitality and its supply chain.
Central London Alliance (CLA) is an alliance of over twenty thousand businesses and organisations of varying sizes and sectors within central London, which includes the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA). The CLA was established in August 2020 to support a sustainable, economic recovery of London’s business, hospitality, cultural, tourism, and retail sectors and to help both employers and workers to survive through coronavirus and beyond.
A spokesperson from the CLA said: “The effects of some of the toughest and longest lasting restrictions on business operations have resulted in severe financial difficulties in the hospitality, tourism, culture and arts, travel and night-time economy industries and their supply chains. Targeted support is vital.
“This need for urgent support and targeted action is emphasised by UK Hospitality reporting that in addition to the £87 billion lost since March 2020, the hospitality industry faced £3 billion lost in sales directly due to the four-week delay in lifting restrictions.”
The CLA has urged the Government to target specific areas of the capital’s economy which includes:
additional business rates relief to support businesses impacted by the pandemic to include hotels and the hospitality sector;
reduced rate of VAT for hospitality providers and the cultural industries to be extended to March 2022;
reinstating the VAT refund for overseas visitors indefinitely;
extending Sunday trading hours in the international centres;
targeted support to night-time economy businesses which have been unable to open fully since the first lockdown.
The CLA go on to add: “The lifting of the “work from home” message is essential for businesses from all sectors in central London to survive and to restore London’s offering as a global city, driving the UK’s economy. We must all collaborate to encourage businesses to support a safe return to the work place.
“The Prime Minister was right to acknowledge the costs the restrictions have brought with them and confirmation on 12th July will be critical together with a continuation of guidelines, rather than any future imposed restrictions. Central London now has a long route to recovery and further barriers cannot be afforded.”
In an open letter addressed to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the CLA urge Government to take action now to secure a ‘safe and sustainable’ recovery. Those signing the letter included Steve McNamara, LTDA General Secretary.