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Firms want support as customers cancel bookings

16th December 2021

Businesses in the hospitality sector are staring down the barrel as the resurgence of COVID-19 dents consumer confidence.

Estimates suggest December 2021 takings in the sector could be down by around 40% due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Many restaurants, pubs and bars claim a strong festive period is essential to their long-term survival, following the ‘lost Christmas of 2020'.

But hospitality firms are experiencing Christmas party cancellations for the second year in a row as nervousness sets in among customers.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling on the Government to provide support "in lockstep with future restrictions".

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, said implementing Plan B was "the right thing to do", but it has "dented demand and consumer confidence".

The CBI said that further support for struggling firms will be needed if fresh measures are brought in.

That could arrive in the form of an extension to the 12.5% reduced rate of VAT, which is due to expire on 31 March 2022.

The CBI also called on the Government to tell councils to immediately release unused grants and issue business rates relief to those in need.

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