UKHospitality and the HTA respond to the Autumn Statement

Both UKHospitality and the HTA greeted Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement with disappointment that the rates relief package was restricted to smaller businesses only.

Following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement today, both UK Hospitality and the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) have responded to the measures he outlined, especially those relating to rates relief.

While Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality approves of Jeremy Hunt’s package of business rates measures and the freeze on alcohol duty until next August, she adds: “The decision to freeze the small business rates multiplier will help the most vulnerable businesses to keep the lights on. However, the standard multiplier rising by 6.4% will still see businesses representing almost two-thirds of the sector’s trade facing a £150m rates hike, which will put more pressure consumer prices and inflation at a time when businesses are still grappling with high costs for energy, food, drink and wages.”

Meanwhile, Fran Barnes, Chief Executive of the Horticultural Trades Association says: “We welcome the Chancellor’s response to our asks on business rates to ease the spring cliff edge by extending small business and retail reliefs until 2025, but we cannot ignore that businesses across the UK Horticulture industry have been feeling the mounting pressures of inflation, energy costs, skills shortages, regulatory changes, climate change and fluctuating consumer confidence over many months.With this background, the near 10% minimum wage hike is a new hurdle when businesses are already facing many work-force related challenges.”

She adds:"Access to a workforce is critical for UK horticulture. We must be able to benefit from the Autumn Statement commitments to increase apprenticeships in order to help us recruit for the evolving breadth of roles in our sector and the changing skills needs of the industry.”

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