DESPERATE pubs and restaurants must reopen on April 1 to take advantage of the Easter weekend and avoid pending disaster, the sector says.
Hospitality venues are “desperate” to open their doors again as they battle for survival as fixed overheads build up – even though their doors remain closed.
The demand comes as analysis by Labour reveals 650,000 hospitality firms are at risk of collapse as they burn through cash reserves.
Industry figures are putting pressure on Ministers to open over the next bank holiday if health advisers give the green light.
The move comes as UK Hospitality has submitted proposals to the Commons’ Treasury select committee on the future of the stricken industry.
They demand Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget in March extends the VAT cut until the end of the year and introduce a further business rates holiday until April 2022.
Businesses should also be allowed to build up their revenue by extending the time to June when landlords can move in to repossess commercial premises.
There are fears that businesses including hotels, pubs and hairdressers could remain closed for at least another three months.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said: “Hospitality is fighting for its very existence, off the back of its worst year on record.
“Our venues have been shut down and subject to tyrannical tiers for many months since September.
“The future is grim, with many pubs, bars, restaurants and coffee shops lacking the cash to get through the coming weeks.
“Fixed costs are mounting up, even with staff on furlough, with no roadmap of when or how they will reopen.
“So further support is critical in ensuring businesses can welcome back customers in a safe and controlled way.
“We are desperate to get back open, boost jobs and help the economy grow.”
Meanwhile, an analysis conducted by Labour reveals 650,000 hospitality businesses are at risk before lockdown ends.
A million food services and accommodation businesses say they have less than three months of cash reserves left.
Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell MP said: “A million firms are struggling with a cash crisis threatening jobs and livelihoods just as the vaccine offers hope.
“The cost of business insolvencies and unemployment on this scale would take a wrecking-ball to our economy.
“If the Government fails to act on this latest evidence, and doesn’t bring forward an urgent, comprehensive plan, they’ll be guilty of economic negligence that will choke off the recovery, and damage our country for years to come.”
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