His & Hers would like to express our wholehearted appreciation for small independent businesses around Merseyside. The hospitality industry is crucial in making Liverpool such a popular and award winning city to visit and enjoy. Some of our happiest memories have been enjoying eating out with family and friends and attending memorable events in the city.
Liverpool has been voted one of the friendliest cities in the country in a recent survey carried out by C-V Library. Much is owed to the hospitality industry for that accolade. We can support those restaurants that do deliveries and take-away, but more help is needed.
Liverpool Hospitality Association – a collective of over 100 local businesses – has written an impassioned letter to the government and more specifically to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, in a bid to save the city’s restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions.
Chaired by chef and owner of The Arts School Restaurant, Paul Askew, the LHA details how the Coronavirus pandemic is leaving the city’s hospitality businesses ‘in a position that they may not survive’.
Lockdown and social distancing measures have seen the nation’s hospitality sector either completely closed or facing tough restrictions. The Liverpool Hospitality Association highlights that the industry will be one of the last to reopen. When it does it will still be ‘heavily influenced by social distancing’.
The LHA is made up of some of the city’s most successful and much-loved businesses. These include: the Arts School Restaurant, Graffiti Spirits Group*, Maray, Red and Blue Restaurants (Salt House Tapas, Bacaro, Hanover Street Social and Rocket & Ruby), Paul Moran of Living Ventures and others.
*Graffiti Spirits includes: Duke Street Market, Bold Street Coffee, Salt Dog Slims, 81 Ltd, Slim’s, Santa Chupitos, Maluco Pizzeria, El Bandito, Castle Street Coffee and Super Megabite.
The Liverpool Hospitality Association’s heart-felt letter details how the hopes of Liverpool’s businesses ‘now hang in tatters’. So many local people have ‘grafted for years, fighting for survival’.
The letter asks for support in the following:
- #NationalTimeOut initiative supporting rent payments to landlords for a 9 month period without being added to the end of the lease.
- #RasieTheBar initiative – raising the current £51k threshold to £151k for business rate grants.
- Furlough Pay Review – a review of measures for the hospitality sector considering the expected long-term timescales for recovery.
- Directors of Limited Companies be in line with self-employed – allowing dividends to be considered via company records, not just basic PAYE pay.
- VAT reduction – a reduction in VAT for all Visitor Economy sector to 10% for a minimum 12 month period.
- Insurance companies held accountable. Many hospitality businesses have been advised they are not covered as COVID-19 is not mentioned in their policies.
- CBILS movement on 100% Government back up to £100k. Many have been unable to be accepted due to new venues, small profits, past history or future concern of longevity in the environment.
Paul Askew, Chair of the LHA and owner of The Arts School, said: “COVID-19 has created unprecedented circumstances for all. And for the hospitality industry, there are extraordinarily uncertain times ahead. We’ll be one of the last sectors to reopen and even then, our new normal will be a stark contrast to the busy and bustling venues we’re used to.
“Liverpool’s hospitality sector has a visitor economy worth £4.9bn and we provide over 57,000 jobs…To ensure that, collectively, this is possible moving forward, we’ll need long-term support from the government.”
Matt Farrell, co-founder of Graffiti Spirits Group, added: “Hospitality businesses are ‘cultural banks’…As with many other services, (they) are there for the community as much as they are for the business owners. They will need ongoing help and support to be there when society is ready. Supporting and following this cause is categorically the only way to help survival.”