04 February 2021


NB This photo was taken on the 16th March 2020, prior to the introduction of any COVID-19 regulations

Ever since HU CEO Colin Neill met the First Minister and deputy First Minister on the 16th March 2020, long before many of us knew the full impact of this crisis, Hospitality Ulster has led the battle to save our industry and secure financial support to help our businesses and staff through this crisis.


Establishing the Northern Ireland Hospitality Industry Covid Response Group, Hospitality Ulster has ensured a coordinated approach when lobbying the Northern Ireland Executive, whilst working closely with our sister organisations UKH and BBPA to lobby UK Government for financial support and tax cuts.


Through this collaborative approach, Hospitality Ulster has been instrumental in securing:


  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) introduced and then amended back to an 80% payment
  • A reduced VAT rate of 5% on food and accommodation, plus deferred VAT Payments
  • CBLs and bounce-back loans
  • Emergency grants of £10k and £25k
  • A 12 month business rates holiday
  • Localised Restrictions Support Scheme (LRSS)
  • Wet Pubs Business Support Scheme (WPBSS)
  • COVID-19 Restrictions Business Support Scheme (CRBSS)
  • Large Hospitality Grant
  • New Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme
  • Limited Company Director's Support Scheme (LCDSS)
  • Self-employed Grants


However, with the hospitality industry currently in total lockdown apart from limited off-sales, takeaway food and emergency accommodation, one could be forgiven for thinking it’s now just a waiting game.


But let us reassure you it’s not!


Hospitality Ulster continues to work tirelessly to protect our businesses and jobs;


  • Working on individual cases when HU member grants are outstanding or have been refused
  • Securing delivery of grants schemes that have been announced by politicians but not commenced by the departments, and;
  • Lobbying for a fair deal for members with more than one premises or large regional pubs, restaurants and hotels who fell below the Large Hospitality Grant NAV threshold, but have similar large premises to their counterparts in higher rated areas.


Hospitality Ulster also continues to seek additional much needed financial support, including a further businesses rates holiday and VAT cut, as well as a rent hardship fund, a Top Up grant and a Refinancing Grant to kickstart reopening.


Hospitality Ulster remains at the forefront in the battle to save and rebuild our members’ businesses, and whilst the likelihood of a reopening date is still some time away, Hospitality Ulster continues to make the case that this must be the last lockdown.


With CEO Colin Neill also representing Northern Ireland on the Hospitality Industry Recovery Steering Group at Westminster- giving our hospitality industry a seat and more importantly a voice at the top of Government- and with continued Ministerial engagement in the Northern Ireland Executive, we have begun the process of lobbying for the sustainable and permanent reopening of our industry.


There is no doubt that our entire industry is still in the survival stage of this crisis and our immediate focus remains on helping our members through this phase, but we are also aware of the need for a reopening plan that provides the opportunity for businesses to return to profitability with the help of reduced taxation and the need for ongoing financial support well beyond the date of reopening.


With Hospitality Ulster’s board comprising businesses owners (like you) from across the province and across the industry, we have also begun the process of identifying the pathway to recovery.


But to ensure your voice is heard within Hospitality Ulster, in the coming days we will begin a survey of the industry to secure your input into an industry led recovery plan.


To all Hospitality Ulster members, we wish to express our thanks for your continued support. We still have many challenges ahead, but if anything, the last eleven months have shown us the value of having Hospitality Ulster as a strong voice for our industry.



Danny Coyles  


Hospitality Ulster

The Anchor Complex, Portstewart


Tony O'Neill

Vice Chairman

Hospitality Ulster

Coppi & Buba, Belfast


Protect your business and your future- join Hospitality Ulster today!

Call 02890327578, or CLICK HERE to apply online.