Birmingham’s hospitality sector provides urgent shopping list for government aid

Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues in Birmingham have compiled a shopping list for the region’s political leaders to use in their urgent government lobbying efforts.

Andy Street, the Conservative elected mayor for the West Midlands, has joined up with Birmingham’s Labour leader Ian Ward and other council leaders as the region’s businesses struggle to maintain revenues during current Tier Two COVID-19 restrictions.

Mayor Street has pledged that the cross-party alliance will be “lobbying vociferously” for “significant financial support” before any move into Tier Three, the highest level of restrictions, which could force many venues to close their doors.

Cllr Ward has also asked businesses to take part in his Economic Recovery Strategy consultation to find out how to best assist the local economy recover following the pandemic.

To help Mayor Street and Cllr Ward to deliver on their missions, Westside Business Improvement District (BID) has collected the top demands of what hospitality members need from government, and these include:

1. Financial support for late night hospitality venues with an 80% furlough scheme.

2. Easily accessible business grants to assist with rents and other costs during any closures.

3. Funds for a concerted advertising and marketing campaign across various key points in the city to promote a positive message that highlights when and where venues are open safely.

4. The ability for councils to be flexible in adapting and reusing open spaces, without the usual red-tape and elongated planning timescales.

5. Proper notice to be given before moving into any higher tier to enable affected venues to reduce short shelf-life stocks like beer and fresh food, preventing needless wastage.

6. Ensuring that the safe operating and opening of theatres continues, within lawful guidelines.

Mike Olley, general manager of Westside BID, said: “We applaud Mayor Street’s offer to get what the hospitality sector needs from the government, and we hope he will now act on our prioritised shopping list.

“We also welcome Cllr Ward’s Economic Recovery Strategy and know that he will make sure BID members’ needs are highlighted in the final version.

“We now look forward to working closely with Mayor Street and Cllr Ward as it’s crucial they both understand what businesses at the coal face need to survive.”

He added: “The collective, cross-party influence of these politicians lobbying to national government cannot be ignored, and we implore chancellor Rishi Sunak to listen carefully.”

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