03 March 2021


Reacting to the Budget outlined by Chancellor, Rishi Sunak this lunchtime, Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said today:


"Hospitality Ulster has championed the call for a VAT and business rates cut both here and at Westminster with UK partners."


“Overall, this is a supportive package for our pubs, restaurants, coffee shops and accommodation providers and we hope the measures will be kept under review as we reopen and rebuild our hospitality industry and support the economy as Northern Ireland’s fourth largest private sector employer.”


“We welcome the extension to the Furlough Scheme to the end of September, which, if lockdown easement goes to plan, will be a great support to businesses in the hospitality sector who will just be finding their feet again. We are encouraged to hear that for only the second time in 20 years that all alcohol duty will be frozen.”


“Maintaining the VAT rate on hospitality at 5% to September and 12.5% until April of next year is an important move by the Chancellor, but we feel that much more can be done with this rate. This temporary relief is only beneficial when the sector is actually opened and trading, and must be reviewed next year to keep the level as low as possible. We must work hard now to make sure that the return to the 20% rate outlined for 2022 is scrapped as that higher level is uncompetitive for us in Northern Ireland due to sharing a land border with the Republic of Ireland.”


“We must see the rates holiday and extended ongoing discounted rate outlined for hospitality in England mirrored here. The alleviation of this crippling business cost, particularly to some parts of the hospitality sector, like pubs, who are calculated differently, must be dealt with especially in light of the complete lack of trade and likely future restrictions.”


“Ultimately, as part of the levelling up agenda promised by this Conservative government, we need to see more than the additional £410m allocated today by the Chancellor. Our own Finance Minister has called for much more to help plug the gaps that have emerged over the last number of years and to get our beleaguered economy moving again.”