AGO Hotels has called for the government to “protect businesses from economic fragility and demonstrate commitment to the hospitality industry, a huge contributor to the UK economy”, ahead of the Autumn Budget.
Lionel Benjamin, co-founder of AGO Hotels – a hotel operator with a portfolio of 14 hotels across the UK – has highlighted a number of issues such as an extension of the energy Bill Discount Scheme, the scheduled rise in corporation tax and a revaluation of business rates.
AGO revealed its energy bills have risen to 30% of its operating costs in the last two years, up from between 8-12% of costs in the years prior. As such it would like to see the Energy Bill Discount Scheme extended for a further period.
With cuts unlikely, especially as the Government continues to try and curb inflation, the planned corporation tax rise in April 2024, from 19% to 25% is set to go ahead and the chancellor is predicted to announce the increase in national living wage to £11.
As such, Benjamin said AGO Hotels has been “steadfast” in ensuring its team members have received pay increases despite the pandemic and despite the challenging economic climate. As wages and other costs continue to rise, Benjamin is “looking at where the Government will offer a helping hand”.
Finally, he confirmed for SMEs, business rates will be “central” to the statement .
He said: “The ending of the rates relief and link to the multiplier, could leave many SMEs on the brink of collapse, with further businesses in the hotel and leisure sector being forced to close their doors.
“While freezing the business rates multiplier is important in the short-term the Budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to show his commitment to business in the medium to long-term with a revaluation of the criteria which determine business rates, emphasising the importance of aligning taxation with the economic realities faced by businesses.”