LCCI calls for the Treasury to urgently reintroduce business support measures

Thursday 16th December 2021

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is calling on the Treasury to urgently reintroduce business support measures. Chief Executive of LCCI, Richard Burge, said:

“London is suffering – the hospitality sector is on its knees due to a combination of the ‘protect Christmas’ narrative, a surge in cases in the Capital, staff shortages and the declining footfall in the city centre. New data from think tank Centre for Cities shows that footfall in London is down nearly 40% from February 2020, the last month prior to the UK entering its first full lockdown. Businesses are feeling this fall hit their bottom line during what should be the busiest time of the year for retail trade and hospitality. We are already seeing empty streets in the City, empty bars and restaurants and fewer people on public transport. It is a devastating blow for businesses who have had a hard year of recovery and are now expected to trade as normal in these lockdown-like conditions.

“The government needs to be incredibly careful with its messaging, which has so far encouraged people to voluntarily go into lockdown while equally telling the public not to panic and keep supporting business. Understandably, public concern over the worsening health situation is winning the day and it is too late to turn the tide now as businesses, especially those in London which rely on tourism at this time of year, will not be able to withstand another setback like this without support. As a result, the Chancellor must urgently announce measures including reverting the VAT for hospitality and tourism back to its emergency rate of 5%, reinstating 100% business rates relief for retail and hospitality and making additional grant funding available.”