The hospitality industry has branded the rise as a ‘body blow’ by the Treasury in London just when customers were starting to come back out to bars and restaurants post Covid.
Mr. Neill said: “The irony of this rate moving to 20% on April Fools' Day after everything we have come through, and all we still have to face as a sector, is not lost on us. In fact it’s no laughing matter.
“Let’s take this in context, the sector has been effectively closed for the best part of two years, incurring a huge debt burden, and now with energy costs through the roof the entire supply chain to the hospitality sector have put their prices up as they are also under pressure.”
He claimed that the government and energy suppliers are not responsible for the cost of living crisis that we all face, but he said the government is responsible for measures to mitigate the impact, 'like keeping VAT at 12.5%'.
“We have talked long and hard about the need to future proof the hospitality sector to make it financially viable for business owners, and we have heard from the Chancellor about his commitments, but so far they have failed to deal with an issue that places many businesses in the danger zone," he said.