Devastatingly shocking decision not to reduce VAT says hospitality chief

Sacha Lord

Sacha Lord, chair of the Night Time Industries Association said the Chancellor’s budget offered nothing for a sector facing total destruction.

“After 14 years of Conservative promises of economic growth, the UK is no better off than it was in 2010. 

“The last five years has seen a complete destruction of the hospitality industry – a sector which is the fifth biggest contributor to the UK economy, a primary driver of inbound UK tourism and an industry which was once world-renowned for its offering.

“The lack of support in today’s Spring Budget is no surprise and yet is also a devastatingly shocking decision.

“In this election year, the industry must now stand together as one to continue to press all political parties to pledge greater support for the sector in their manifestos. I, along with countless other industry leaders, urge all parties to come together around the table to discuss a reduction in VAT to bring us in line with our European counterparts.

“Without support, our hospitality sector will not only become unrecognisable, but the job losses that will follow will be difficult for our economy to withstand without serious implication.”

Sacha Lord, unpaid Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, and the co-founder of The Warehouse Project and Parklife, will be the guest at a special lunchtime event to talk about the publication of his inaugural tell-all book, Tales from the Dance Floor.

The lunch event will feature a Q&A with Sacha Lord, Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, hosted by Michael Taylor, where Sacha will speak on the meteoric rise of Manchester and how the city became the capital of nightlife that it is today.

Get your tickets here.

The hotly anticipated book, which includes endorsements from best-selling rapper Aitch, Happy Mondays lead singer Shaun Ryder and Ian Brown, will reveal behind-the-scenes accounts and exposés on Lord’s early promoter years at seminal Manchester clubs like Sankeys, Home, The Haçienda and Paradise Factory.

Tales from the Dance Floor will be published by HarperNorth, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, on 11 April 2024.

Lord rarely misses an opportunity to speak out.

His comments around the Budget yesterday (6 March 2024) were echoed by a collective statement from the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS) which said it was “deeply disappointed” that the Chancellor didn’t heed their pleas on behalf of tens of thousands of people across the country who have contributed to the campaigns to lower VAT for the hospitality industry.

“A reduction in VAT would have provided much-needed relief, enabling businesses to reinvest in their operations, retain staff, and ultimately contribute to the broader economic recovery,” the NCASS said.

Oliver Reece, managing director at Fresh Thinking Advisory, said: “The hospitality and logistics sectors are having a tough time of it due to rising costs and tough economic headwinds. This budget was an opportunity to provide urgent and structural help but yet again it’s left to private sector lenders to step in and provide the support these firms need. The extra £200m in funding mentioned for the Recovery Loan Scheme may provide some relief but may prove to be too little and too late. My advice to firms facing funding issues is to seek professional advice as quickly as possible.”

Similarly, Mick Frankish, Practice Lead for Grant Thornton in the North West, said: “Given the difficulties the hospitality sector is facing it was disappointing not to see any targeted support for pubs, restaurants and nightclubs beyond the freeze in alcohol duty.”