Hutson calls on PM for extended rural hospitality support

Miles Hurley Miles Hurley Uploaded 01 May 2020

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UK: Robin Hutson has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a range of measures to support rural hospitality businesses.

Hutson, CEO of Lime Wood Group and Home Grown Hotels, has estimated that rural businesses will be in need of support until 2021 to survive the pandemic.

He claims the combination of furlough ceasing and reopening under social isolation conditions would lead to hundreds of thousands of rural redundancies. This, in turn would upend the economic cohesion of rural Britain.

Hutson noted that the size and type of buildings many rural hotels and restaurants are situated in makes social distancing complicated. As such, he believes that a reopening before 2020’s end would be disadvantageous.

Home Grown Hotels was in the midst of a growing period, with the early 2019 opening of Bridge Place in Canterbury a success. It planned to open a new hotel in May, but postponed due to COVID-19 related concerns.

In his letter, Hutson highlights a variety of schemes to help support the industry. These include backdated and extended furlough periods, rent assistance, a continued business rate holiday, and a reduction of VAT for hospitality businesses.

Cosigning the letter are other industry leaders, including Rick and Jill Stein of the Seafood Restaurant, Andrew Stembridge of Iconic Luxury Hotels and Paul and Emma Ainsworth of Michelin Starred Paul Ainsworth at No 6 in Cornwall.

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