"Significant losses have already been made" Liverpool hospitality bosses react to government funding announcement - The Guide Liverpool

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“Significant losses have already been made” Liverpool hospitality bosses react to government funding announcement


Iain Hoskins who owns Liverpool pubs Ma Boyle’s and Tempest on Tithebarn says “it’s devastating” and that trade has dropped hugely at the busiest time of the year for hospitality. And Paul Askew of Art School Liverpool says “significant losses have already been made”

Independent businesses have said the latest package of support announced by the Treasury will not be enough to help them through a difficult Christmas period, with lower footfall seen in cafes and shops as consumers try to avoid the new Omicron variant.

The Treasury has announced a package of support including one-off grants of £6,000 per premises for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors, with £100 million of discretionary funding available to local authorities to support other firms.

But independent retailers have said the funding may not help them in the face of a future lockdown.

Iain Hoskins, Ma Pub Group with Ma Boyle’s Eatery & Alehouse and Tempest on Tithebarn, Liverpool:

“Well it’s a start at least – our industry has been asking this question for weeks. So it appears without furlough for now the plan is to let us stay open but the reality remains that trade has dropped hugely at the busiest time of the year for hospitality. It’s devastating.

“The point is that it costs me more to stay open than when we are closed and while I don’t think anyone is expecting to have all lost Christmas sales reimbursed by the government, the £6k grant is a drop in the ocean at this time of year. That’s not being ungrateful – that’s the truth.

“But it’s a start if follow up packages are to come after Christmas. But it simply doesn’t go anywhere to address the issue of our staff as most rotas are being cut the bone to keep our overheads down as a means of survival. Unfortunately this doesn’t help our staff who like anyone else who work want the hours and the money, especially at this time of the year.”

Paul Askew founder and head chef of Liverpool’s Art School Restaurant and also new venture Barnacle on Duke Street says:

“I’m delighted to see that Mr Sunak is reacting to our pleas for support in Hospitality it shows he is listening but I’m concerned about the detail and will it be enough for some business to survive

We realise that the full amount of cancellation revenue cannot be reimbursed but significant losses have already been made accross our membership in the LHA .

For Many of us are in a position where after borrowing CBIL loans and not being paid for insurance cover we thought we had ,plus historic rent debt for many still in place that more funding may be needed

We still of course need clarity on the potential closure as consumer confidence is still at a low point”

Paul Askew’s Barnacle on Duke Street

Rachel Hutchinson, owner of The Rock Fairy Limited, a rock and roll-themed zero-waste shop and sustainable cafe based in Afflecks, Manchester, said her business was excluded from government support during previous lockdowns and that as “we started getting new variants, trade has steadily plummeted since September really”.

“This month has been insane, it should be the busiest time of year. Today we opened at 10.30am and we’ve taken £6,” she said.

She added that shoppers needed to feel safe, and many regular customers were avoiding the shop because they wanted to safeguard festive family plans but that her trade had fallen by 60%.

“The six grand, it doesn’t cover what we’ve lost, so it’s certainly not going to cover what we stand to lose as well if they lock us down,” she said.

Ms Hutchinson added that it would “just about” help the company through Christmas.

James Calder, chief executive of the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba), said: “The context to this is that hospitality, pubs, have always been the focus of any support from government – breweries by and large have had to rely on discretionary [local government] support and that hasn’t really changed today, so whilst the announcements from the Chancellor today have been welcomed, it really doesn’t touch the sides for breweries.”

He said some Siba members might see their cashflow run out by the time they could access funding, with many contacting him to say that they only had a few days of cashflow left.

“Six thousand pounds is what a lot of pubs would expect to take in one good day at Christmas, it doesn’t really cover the losses that we’ll make and the cashflow that we need to take us into January and beyond.”


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