The fledgling trade association representing short lets companies wants public cash and other forms of aid to help the sector through winter.
Merilee Karr, chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak requesting “additional government support” because of the impact of travel and hospitality restrictions on short lets.
Karr says: “We are pleased the government will expand the Job Support Scheme to cover businesses forced to close due to government restrictions. It’s also critical the Chancellor recognises that many visitor accommodation businesses will be negatively affected if other sectors of the hospitality industry, such as pubs and restaurants, are forced to close to comply with government restrictions and should, therefore, be included amongst those companies that can access the scheme.”
She goes on to say: “The closure of large swathes of the hospitality sector in specific geographic locations will cause a massive downturn in demand for visitor accommodation, which will seriously reduce demand for many businesses.”
The STAA’s letter explains that if visitor accommodation businesses are not forced to close they cannot benefit from the Job Support Scheme or other reliefs.
She emphasises that closing some parts of the hospitality sector, but not others, destroys demand for visitor accommodation without making it eligible for the level of cash funding it would receive if it closed completely.
Karr claims most businesses in the sector have already retrenched as far as they can, keeping on essential staff so they can resume trading when demand returns.
The association calculates short lets were set to add £25 billion to the UK economy prior to the pandemic. The STAA argues that the government has a duty to protect this sector.
“If our industry has support through this winter, it will be in a good position to bounce back when the demand picks up again. Without any additional government support, we are concerned the industry will not be able to deliver on its potential” she concludes.