The Government recognises that these are challenging times for London businesses within the retail, culture, and hospitality sectors.
Hospitality, culture, retail, leisure, and tourism employ 1 in 5 Londoners and generate £62bn in GVA. On a normal working day roughly 2 million Londoners use the tube to travel to work. The loss of a large proportion of this daily office foot traffic represents a major challenge to the capital’s hospitality and retail businesses, especially in Central London where the residential population is low such as Westminster and the West End.
Businesses in the hospitality sector across the economy are being supported through a range of measures including Local Authority Discretionary Grants, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Eat Out to Help Out and the reduced VAT rate to 5%, along with Coronavirus Business Interruption loans.
Take-up of these schemes across the UK have been high. The accommodation and food services sector has seen 73% take-up rate in terms of employments, with over £4.1 billion claimed through CJRS. With 87% of employers in this sector furloughing at least one employment. The sector has been offered 3,924 CBILS facilities worth £956m, and 88,427 BBLS loans worth £3.10bn.
On 5 July, the Government announced a major £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will provide targeted support to organisations across a range of sectors, including performing arts and theatres, museums and galleries, heritage sites, live music venues and independent cinema.