Following calls from spokespeople across the hospitality industry including ASAP CEO James Foice, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak yesterday announced a raft of financial measures which will help shore up the sector, to keep the economy moving, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saying the government will do “whatever it takes” and will put the country on a “wartime” footing. Sunak unveiled an unprecedented £330bn loan scheme to support businesses, and and another £20bn in direct cash support.

Importantly, Sunak said that he would give all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses a one-year holiday from their business rates bills, and confirmed that anyone with business interruption insurance will now be able to claim on this – even though government policy is currently to advise consumers not to go to pubs, bars and hotels, rather than stopping the premises opening at all.

James Foice, ASAP CEO, says: “It is good news that our UK Members are now able to save on business rates, and that they can also claim on any suitable insurance policies they have for the potentially massive impact on their businesses.

“We see this as a sign of a supportive government realising the benefit of a healthy hospitality industry in rebuilding the economy post-Coronavirus.

“When travel restrictions globally are lifted, we definitely need to be ready to welcome the world back in.”