Hospitality Ulster responds to 2020 Budget

11 March 2020

Hospitality Ulster responds to 2020 Budget

Reacting to the UK Budget delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer this lunchtime, Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster said:

Coronavirus Package:


“We give a cautious welcome the significant package announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to deal with the Coronavirus situation. It is a very necessary response in recognition of the financial implications which many sectors, particularly hospitality and tourism face, and already experiencing in Northern Ireland.”


On mitigations and support during the current outbreak of Coronavirus:


“We welcome that the Chancellor mentioned in his statement that he has asked HMRC to scale up the ‘Time to Pay’ service as people struggle to pay salaries and bills. No matter how well a business is run, many will face problems with their cash flow during this period. Allowing businesses to defer tax payments over an agreed period of time is the right thing to do, especially for those in the hospitality industry, who will be worst hit.”


On Business Rates:


“We note that the Chancellor has made the decision to abolish business rates for properties with a NAV of £51,000 or less and want to ensure that small businesses in Northern Ireland are afforded the same treatment. Our devolved administration must immediately deal with this issue and ensure our sector benefits from the same financial measures which our colleagues in Great Britain will experience. We DEMAND that the Department of Finance match the rate cuts in GB with immediate effect.”


On Beer and Spirit Duty:


We welcome the decision by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cancel the planned rise in Beer and Spirit Duty. We also welcome the decision to freeze Duty on Wine and Cider.”


“This is the common sense decision and is really important for the hospitality sector here in Northern Ireland. We have seen a record number of pubs close in recent years and together we need to do everything we can to encourage people to enjoy our world class hospitality which remains a key part of our tourism offer.”


On Air Passenger Duty:


“Despite the collapse of Flybe, the Chancellor has failed to address the issue of regional connectivity in Northern Ireland.”


“Rail operators in Great Britain receive subsidies and support from the Government which needs to recognise that we live on an island, and that, in reality, aeroplanes play the same role as trains for us. We need the Government to maximise the opportunity that we have by lowering or eradicating barriers when it comes to getting on and off this island. No change means that we continue to face the difficulties this tax presents.