THIRTY-SEVEN Tory MPs have written to Jeremy Hunt demanding he extend help for the hospitality and leisure sector.
A group of backbenchers have called for the 75 per cent business rate relief scheme – worth up to £110,000 – to be extended beyond April.
The intervention comes as The Sun’s Save Our Sups campaign demands the help going into year and also the freezing of duties.
Tory MP Matt Vickers said companies are facing huge challenges from high and increasing wages. costs
He said: “The government relief scheme has proven to be a lifeline to many of them and its expiry will create a cliff edge which would have a huge and irreversible impact.
“From our great British high street stores to our local pubs, these businesses are essential, defining places, bringing us together and providing a huge number of .
“It is essential they are protected and we urge the government to extend its game changing support for them”.
A UKHospitality survey showed that 66% of businesses would reduce investment, 61% would raise prices and 41% would reduce opening hours if rates relief was removed.
Industry figures highlight a drop of around 20% in spirit sales in the last 28 days and a double digit drop for wine during the same period after the largest duty increase in almost 50 years on August 1.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “We have long argued that duty rises are counterproductive and lead to reduced sales which means less revenue to the Exchequer.
“The most up-to-date sales shows starkly shows that consumers are still in the grip of a cost of living-of-living crisis and cannot afford to keep stretching their budgets just to be able to enjoy some of life’s little luxuries.”