‘Help us’ plead Liverpool and Manchester

Hospitality sector lost revenues due to COVID-19 are in the billions and now Liverpool and Manchester business leaders are pleading with the Chancellor to step in. Tony McDonough reports

closed sign, shop, retail
The North West hospitality sector is facing ‘catastrophe’ without Government help


Business leaders in Liverpool and Manchester are joining forces to plead with Chancellor Rishi Sunak to offer immediate support for the region’s battered hospitality sector.

Since the COVID-19 lockdown in March lost revenues for bars, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality and leisure businesses across the North West now runs into the billions. With further restrictions now in places it is feared mass business closures are inevitable.

Now, business leaders in both cities have written to the Chancellor saying an immediate support package is need to avoid “catastrophic consequences” for the hospitality sector. On Monday morning Liverpool city region business leaders launched an emergency £40m fund for the sector. But there are fears it will not be nearly enough. The letter to Mr Sunak calls for “an appropriate level of intervention”.

Liverpool signatories include Liverpool Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Paul Cherpeau; Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company; Frank McKenna, chief executive of Downtown in Business; and Paul Askew, owner of the Art School restaurant.

Paul Cherpeau
Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. Picture by Gareth Jones


Signatories from Manchester include Clive Memmott, chief executive of Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Dave Moutrey, director of culture at Manchester City Council; and Jane Sharrocks, chair of Manchester BID and general manager of Selfridges.

In the letter to the Chancellor they write: “The hospitality industry is under threat. The imposition of further restrictions upon conurbations in the North of England will result in a catastrophic impact on the entire sector if it is not given immediate support.

“We welcome intervention of city leaders who have called upon the government to act. We also need to make people aware that our previously, slowly, recovering visitor economy is in real danger. In fact, without an appropriate level of intervention, there will not be a hospitality sector as we know it.

“There are many businesses across the North that will soon close and others desperately seeking ways of continuing to trade.  The vast majority of businesses have shown incredible resilience and worked tirelessly to make themselves COVID secure for those visiting and working in them, making sense of what many regarded as confusing, unenforceable restrictions.

The imposition of the 10:00pm curfew is having a damaging impact on the sector and we would ask you to review it in the light of its effect on the hospitality industry and the resultant job losses.

“…Decisive and immediate action is required – listen to and support businesses and people on the ground and engage properly with local authorities to provide targeted economic support… Quite simply, for our visitor economy, it is now or never.”

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