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Covid-19: Retail and Hospitality Sectors

Volume 678: debated on Tuesday 21 July 2020

What support his Department is providing to the retail and hospitality sectors as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased. (905055)

Through the Business and Planning Bill, we are simplifying reliefs and the costs to cafés, pubs and restaurants of obtaining a licence to allow for outdoor dining. The Chancellor has also announced a six-month temporary VAT rate reduction from 20% to 5% for the hospitality, accommodation and attraction sectors. Both these measures should help to provide a welcome boost for business.

My constituency is known for its culinary delights such as the fantastic Butterfingers Deli, and Balti Bazaar in Lye, not forgetting its equally fantastic independent local pubs. Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is crucial that we encourage customers to get back to our pubs and restaurants to support our local economies and get our economic engines firing again?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We need to get out there supporting our pubs and restaurants. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme operating during August is another great incentive to support participating restaurants, cafés, pubs and other food establishments. Al fresco dining midweek in balmy August weather should be a must for all of us.

Hospitality workers who, in normal times, rely on tips as a significant part of their income have been especially hit, not just because their workplaces have been shut but because furlough payments have not recognised tip-based income. The Government have committed to bringing forward legislation to ensure that hospitality staff can keep their tips; indeed, it was a Conservative party manifesto commitment. When will that legislation be brought to the House?

The Chairman of the Select Committee raises a very important point. As he knows, we have had to bring forward a number of emergency Bills. However, I recognise the point he is making, and we will look to see the earliest point at which we might be able to bring that forward.