Dear Friends of Shepherd Neame,
Last week, the Prime Minister provided welcome clarity on the Government’s roadmap out of this crisis. Since then, all eyes have been on the Chancellor, hoping that today’s Budget would provide financial support the hospitality sector so urgently needs - and he has not disappointed.
The Chancellor had a very difficult balancing act to provide ongoing support for business whilst trying to ensure that the country does not have unsustainable debt for the long term. In our view, he has achieved that balance.
The following has been announced today:
- Additional business grants of up to £18k per pub
- VAT cut extended to end of September, moving to an interim rate until April next year
- Business rates holiday extended to end of June, then discounted by up to two thirds until April next year
- Alcohol duty frozen
- Furlough scheme extended to end of September
- Incentives for businesses to recruit apprentices and start investing again
The hospitality sector has been the hardest hit during the crisis, with 660,000 jobs already lost and an estimated one in 10 outlets closed permanently; cash reserves for many businesses have been depleted to dangerous levels. Therefore, we are delighted that the Chancellor has recognised the importance of our industry to the economy, to jobs and our society, and has provided us with a platform on which we can rebuild our businesses, and play our part in contributing to the country’s recovery.
After a year of huge anxiety and uncertainty, we welcome the clarity provided by these announcements. Our licensees and team members can now look to the future with confidence as we develop firm plans to remobilise and to prepare to do what we love most – opening our doors from April 12 and welcoming you back.
There’s still a huge amount to be done, and it won’t be an easy road, but we are excited about our prospects at the dawn – perhaps - of one of the greatest reboots our country has ever experienced.
The countdown starts now, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
With my thanks and very best wishes,
Shepherd Neame Chief Executive