Friday 17 December 2021 / 6:00 AM Business / Coronavirus / Economy / Jonathan Reynolds

Tens of thousands of bars, restaurants and venues face closure as Chancellor still missing in action

New analysis by the Labour Party shows the serious situation facing the hospitality and culture sectors in the UK, as tens of thousands of businesses report fears they may not survive in the New Year.

Labour’s analysis of ONS data has shown a shocking one in every five businesses reported they were at risk of going under, whilst one in three reported lower festive sales. In the culture sector, almost one in ten are at moderate or severe risk of insolvency, and one in three have reported a lower turnover. Astonishingly, this analysis covers the month before Omicron hit, suggesting things could get even worse for the sector as parties are cancelled and orders dry up.

The Party slammed the Chancellor’s decision to leave British business in the dark while jetting off to America. Remarkably, Ministers only convened a roundtable with hard hit sectors yesterday, and confirmed they will “continue to work with industry leaders over the coming days” despite firms calling for help now.

Already, without official lockdown restrictions, many theatres have cancelled their Christmas runs, which especially for local and regional theatres can bring in up to 25% of their yearly income.

Labour has written to the Chancellor calling on him to come out of hiding and provide much needed support for British business.

Labour has set out its own plans to help businesses through this tough period, with action to ease the burden of debt repayments, cutting business rates for small businesses and creating a functioning system of self-isolation support.

Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, said:

“Every day the Chancellor is missing in action is an insult to the British businesses and workers who have struggled to get to this point.

“They are now facing closure by stealth from a Government without the authority to take the public health measures required and back it up with economic support.

“Firms are clear in their message to Government, they need help now not just warm words. Labour backs British business and workers with our plans to fix sick pay, ease the burden of debt repayments and cut business rates for small businesses.”