NCASS Taking a Stand For You.

As your trade association – we need to hear from you so that we can represent you and your needs to government.

We’re empowering independent hospitality – making sure your business gets heard.

Members are increasingly reporting concerns about pressures on their businesses, often beyond their control.

The cost of living crisis is one thing but are businesses facing a cost of operating crisis?

With an autumn statement due and an election round the corner, NCASS are working tirelessly to make the case to all parties and government on behalf of members – the case for your business.

We’re putting together a campaign for NCASS members, we need to hear what you need and if you are under pressure, what are the causes – and solutions?

We’re calling on the government to support our sector and #EmpowerIndependents

YOU (independent hospitality businesses) are critical to the economy and continue to make a significant contribution to hospitality recovery and increasingly, regeneration. But the cost of living crisis and parallel cost of operating crisis are likely to be impacting your business.

  • Food inflation is double the rate of standard inflation which itself is eye watering, forcing up the price and eating into profit margins. All of which add to inflation
  • Business rates are set to rise 
  • Covid loans are due and inflation on credit is increasing, access to credit has also been an issue
  • With what limited government support members and the hospitality sector could access through Covid  has been widely withdrawn
  • Higher food prices may have pushed businesses into the VAT threshold taking 20% of potential profit away
  • The Hot Food VAT is not fit for purpose
  • Energy costs, rent owed due to covid, fuel costs, wage inflation are all being passed onto consumers who themselves are feeling the pinch
  • Uncertainty over future business rates which are currently based on inflation is a potential time bomb down the road
  • Across Europe the rate of VAT for hospitality is around 10% AND food is vatable so businesses can claim back on stock – we left Europe specifically so that we could ‘take back control’ of these things.


We are calling on you to share your current challenges and experiences so that we can expand on the work we are doing in order to make the case for what you need to government and others.

We need you to tell us: 

  • Has inflation taken you over the VAT threshold?
  • How is VAT impacting your business?
  • Has your cost of operating increased and how are you managing it?
  • What are your views on hot food VAT?

Feeding this information into NCASS will help us to prioritise where members most need support and what any help might look like. Both data and personal experiences – your experiences help us to make the case on your behalf.

Your views are vital  – share them with us by writing to:  [email protected]


We have put together a template letter for you to send to your local MP that highlights the costs and challenging climate independent businesses are currently facing.

Sending a letter to your local MP will give this campaign a massive boost – the more MPs we can collectively reach out to and make aware of this campaign, the greater chance we have of progress being made.

To find your local MP:

Go to this Government webpage – Find your MP – MPs and Lords – UK Parliament – and search via your postcode.

Here you will find who you need to contact, but also the email address to send your letter to.

So once you have the details of your local MP, you just need to copy and paste the template letter below, edit the bracketed sections in bold to add your personal insights and information, and send the email.

Be sure to add [email protected] via cc so we can continue to compile evidence for government that tax reform is needed.

Template MP letter

Dear (name of MP),

I am writing to you regarding the current cost of operating crisis.

My business is called (insert your business name) and we are a (insert the type of business you have). In the current climate I am finding it increasingly difficult for my business to remain profitable.

(explain what your current situation is and what the challenges are in the first paragraph)

I am a member of The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) which is an association that supports the independent hospitality sector with over 7,000 members in Great Britain. NCASS and its members are calling for tax reform for micro-businesses across the independent hospitality sector which we fully support. We need reform on the VAT rate for hospitality, reform on hot food VAT and reform on the VAT threshold. Whilst I appreciate there are many contributing factors that are out of the government’s control, there are many things that can be done to bolster and support provided via tax reform for micro businesses.

The three areas of improvement we want to propose are the removal of hot food VAT for businesses with a turnover less than £500k, which as it stands removes 20% of profit, an increase to the current VAT threshold to £500k as the current threshold has been in place since 2017 and is not reflective of real-time inflation at best, and a standard lower rate of VAT for the sector equally Europe at 12%. These are three fundamental issues that are making trading a hard proposition for too many micro businesses, including mine, but by addressing them sincerely, we could all come to a winning solution.

The current VAT rules, the energy crisis and crippling food inflation are resulting in many businesses struggling to stay afloat. NCASS members from across the country have reported huge losses, stating that the combination of challenges is putting the question of whether to continue with their businesses to the fore. Businesses have been and are continuously being squeezed from all angles.

We have received minimal support from the government dating back to the beginning of the cost-of-living crisis. There was minor protection with utility prices, but we still have to cope with huge rises in outgoings, of which one of the most significant is the tax we pay. We are now living in a cost-of-operating crisis. This is not a tenable situation and many more businesses will be forced to close if action is not taken.

Our sector has been left to fall through the gaps again, surely there is a better way to support us? This situation is untenable and my business is at risk, if it does close I, like many others, may be forced to claim benefits which will just add further pressure to the government. Currently, 10% of all business closures are in the hospitality sector. This scenario can be avoided by supporting independent hospitality businesses like mine which in turn will have a positive impact on the UK economy.

I have duties to provide for my family which are under threat and are being severely impacted and now more than ever we as a collective of individuals, as a sector of independent businesses, need your support.

My profits have dropped by (insert figure) compared to last year which is not sustainable so please help us by backing our campaign to create a fairer tax system for the Independent Hospitality Sector.

Thank you and I will look forward to hearing your thoughts on this,

(insert your name and address here)

Your opinions and experiences will feed directly into our Empower Independents campaign which will be shared far and wide

  • We will give you information to share on your platforms including social squares and template letters so you can shout about it too
  • We are lobbying government for answers and solutions to the huge challenges our sector is facing
  • We want to take the spotlight off big business and back on to the small businesses that make our cities, towns and villages what they are

If you would like us to put you forward to any government focus / working groups please let us know and explain why by emailing [email protected]

Thank you for your time and we hope the summer is going well for you so far,

Nick Summers & the NCASS team


We're here to help make your catering business a success. Whether that be starting up or getting on top of your compliance and marketing. We're here to help you succeed.

Find out more Request a call back