Empower Independents campaign update


As you know we are fighting for change and campaigning for the government to support our members and the wider independent hospitality sector. The challenges that independent businesses face and also the proposed solutions such as VAT cuts, a smoothing mechanism for VAT and a review of the VAT threshold are all being brought to the attention of the government thanks to the sector’s collective efforts.

With the Spring Budget around the corner, it is crucial that we get our message heard and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part and got involved in the campaigning so far. The data we receive from surveys, case studies and discussions with you is invaluable and we are continuing to share it with the government including the treasury, DBT and the Minister for Hospitality.

You may have seen that we released a summary of our representation to the government ahead of the Spring Budget. You can read this here if you haven’t already.

We have two more things to ask of you as members to help drive home our campaign to politicians in time for the budget on March 6th.

Firstly, if you haven’t already taken the survey, please do so, it only takes 5 minutes and the information, views and stories you share with us are vital to the #empowerindependents campaign – you can take the survey here.

Secondly, please write to your local MP.
Today, we have released two new template letters. One is for you to write to your MP, and the other is for your customers to also write to their MP regarding the support and the changes our sector needs. They are easy to use and can be found on our campaign page here. 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.

The survey results (so far) have given us an overview of the sector as it stands right now and we have put a summary together below:

• 75% of respondents to the survey told us that a VAT cut is vital to their business

• Adjustments that businesses have made to cope with the current cost of operating crisis include:

Cutting staff
Reducing staff hours
Reducing operating hours
Changing suppliers
Raising prices
Sending staff home early
Using cheaper ingredients
Doing more hours myself
Making staff redundant
Winter closure periods
Not paying myself
Increased opening hours
Stopped investment into the business
Stopped trading as a ltd company
Menu changes
Closing part of the business
Not taking a salary
Taking out loans

• Respondents told us that gross profit loss was between 10 and 40%

• 80% of respondents said that the reduction in business rates extension announced in the Autumn budget did not help them

• 37% of respondents told us that they feel that their business would struggle to operate in the next 12 months

• 100% of respondents said that staff costs, energy costs, rent or pitch fees and VAT payments had increased in the last 18 months

• Respondents have raised prices with nearly 40% raising them by 10%

• 78% of respondents said that they were dissatisfied with the government’s support for the hospitality industry

• The majority of respondents told us that a VAT cut would be the most impactful for government to support them

The results clearly demonstrate the serious situation that independent hospitality businesses are facing. VAT reform is vital to the sector and that the government needs to act now to support businesses like yours.

Thank you for all that you do, you make our villages, towns, cities, events and festivals what they are, you shape the essence of our communities and you are the heartbeat of hospitality. Please use the MP templates and encourage others to do so too, take part in the survey and write to us to tell us what you need right now. Together, we can make a difference.

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