Chancellor’s hospitality support measures welcomed in Stratford

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Moves to support hospitality businesses through VAT cuts and eating out discounts have been welcomed in Stratford this week.

On Wednesday Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that VAT on food, accommodation and attractions would drop from 20 per cent to five per cent, while the new ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme would offer 50 per cent discounts to those dining out at participating restaurants from Monday to Wednesday in August.

Flair Gougoulia, from El Greco on Rother Street, said: “The VAT cut for all hospitality businesses is something that I think will be welcomed across the board in Stratford, it will particularly help towns like ours that rely heavily on hospitality.

“Likewise anything that encourages people to get back out to the pubs and restaurants is to be welcomed. I’m a little concerned about how this scheme will be administered and the extra pressure this could put on businesses, but on the whole it’s good to see them thinking outside the box.”

Also welcoming the news, Helen Peters of Shakespeare’s England, said: “The past three months have proven to be desperate times for the hospitality and tourism sectors.

“Some have opened their doors once again but trade will not suddenly return to pre-Covid-19 levels, while others are still closed as they try to navigate this pandemic.

“So we still have a long way to go to make sure that businesses are back on track, but the measures that have been announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer are another positive step forward to aid them to get back on their feet again.

“The VAT reduction will provide an immediate stimulus and help with the financial viability of businesses over the coming months.

“It is also good news that the Government has come up with additional ways to help encourage people to visit restaurants, cafes and pubs especially during the quieter weekday periods.

“This is exactly the kind of support that they need at the moment and working alongside the industries We’re Good to Go, accreditation mark and Shakespeare’s England’s #discoveryourdoorstep campaign, will help boost confidence amongst the public and drive guests back into our hospitality businesses.

“This has been a devastating time for local hospitality and tourism businesses, but now is the time to support them.”

Joe Baconnet, director of Stratforward BID, said: “The reduction in VAT to five percent is actually something hotels and restaurants have been asking for over a number of years, it brings us into line with the rest of Europe. I may only be a temporary measure but we’re really pleased on their behalf.”