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Pandemic cost hospitality £200m a day in 2020

Britain's pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels lost nearly £200m a day in sales in 2020 due to the pandemic with sales collapsing from £133.5bn in 2019 to £61.7bn, according to the latest UKHospitality and CGA Quarterly Tracker.

The data reveals a staggering 54% drop in sales in 2020, equivalent to £8m per hour.

Strict local and national restrictions on trading and socialising caused a particularly damaging drop in trade in the final quarter of the year, the Tracker shows. Sales from October to December 2020 were worth just £14.3bn – down by £18.7bn or 57% on the last quarter of 2019.

The figures have been described as “stark” and are said to highlight hospitality’s ongoing need for specific financial support from Government in order to survive the crisis and play its part in economic recovery.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, described the figures as “simply devastating” and called for an exit strategy from the current lockdown as well as ongoing support for sector businesses.

She said: “Hospitality can and will bounce back and it’s in the interests of the Government to support a sector that, in normal times, contributes many billions of pounds in tax to the Treasury and employs over three million people. We need the Chancellor to step up again in his forthcoming Budget to deliver a bold, wide-ranging package of financial support that ensures as many businesses and jobs as possible are saved and the sector returns to growth. An extension of the VAT cut and business rates holiday must be top of the menu.”

Phil Tate, group chief executive of CGA, said it is the clearest evidence yet of the shattering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s hospitality industry.

He added: “Hospitality has responded to the pandemic with courage and innovation. Businesses have worked tirelessly to protect jobs, to support local communities and, when they are able to trade, to keep people safe. With a vaccine rollout underway there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel, and this sector is well placed to help recharge the UK economy as 2021 goes on. But it will only be able to do so if it gets the extensive support that is now desperately needed to sustain it over the next few months.”

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