Adnams boss pens letter to chancellor calling for Covid support

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, Southwold-based brewery

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, has written to chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for more support to be given to the hospitality sector. - Credit: ADNAMS/ANTHONY CULLEN

The boss of a Suffolk brewery and pub company has called for more support for the Covid-ravaged hospitality industry.

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, wrote to Rishi Sunak thanking him for the support the sector has received so far but demanded it continues to help the industry survive post-Covid.

Mr Wood wrote: "Dear chancellor,

"There is no doubt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our economy has been profound, far reaching and will be long lasting.

"Throughout, the Treasury has reacted quickly, decisively and at scale to avert business failures and job losses.

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"The recent announcement of a further £4.6bn in support for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors is very welcome news, thank you.

"The hospitality sector however remains on its knees. It exited what is traditionally a ‘golden quarter’ in financial terms with cash balances severely depleted, balance sheets under pressure and with no prospect of any income to speak of until restrictions unwind through the spring and early summer.

Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, 

Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer, - Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

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"The sector understands and supports the overriding priority around public health and protecting the NHS.

"It also recognises it can be an engine of recovery and growth once on the other side.

"The industry employs millions, is proud to pay its taxes and duties, will be at the centre of high streets and communities as we recover and will act as a magnet for domestic and international tourism as we bounce back from the shocks and difficulties this awful pandemic has placed upon our lives.

"With demand on the sector likely to remain uncertain whilst the UK gradually walks back from restrictions as the vaccination successfully rolls-out, I would ask you to consider the following.

"• An extension of business rate relief until the end of 2021

"• An extension of the flexi-furlough scheme until the end of 2021

"• An extension of the VAT reduction until the end of 2021

"Currently, the industry faces a cliff edge as current measures expire in March and April.

"I hope you can look favourably on these matters as it would provide enormous certainty and confidence for the thousands of small and medium sized businesses that characterise the sector, ensuring these businesses are there to support the rapid recovery and growth of the UK economy immediately post-pandemic and long into the future."

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