Southside District calls for hospitality sector support

Industry needs government help, claims business chief.

Birmingham’s Southside District has added its voice to calls for urgent support for the hospitality sector, as a survey of businesses reveals that 41% fear they are facing collapse.

Southside BID represents over 270 businesses in one of Birmingham’s most vibrant and diverse districts, including leading hospitality and entertainment venues, from The Hippodrome and Birmingham Royal Ballet to The Glee Club and the O2 Academy, alongside a wealth of independent bars, restaurants and nightclubs across both Chinatown and the Gay Village.

A survey of businesses across the district has shown that 90% have faced a loss of customers since the government’s Plan B was announced last week, with 70% of those in the hospitality sector affected by booking cancellations.

For half of all businesses surveyed, December represents 25% of their annual income, and they face a bleak future with increasing uncertainty over additional restrictions ahead of a challenging January.

Southside BID Manager, Julia Robinson, said: “Many of our businesses are still making up for the huge loss of earnings that they suffered in 2020 and the first half of this year, so to be hit with what is effectively a lockdown by stealth during this crucial trading period is heart breaking for them.

“All of our business want to do the right thing by their customers and their staff, but the lack of clarity from government is causing huge amounts of both emotional anxiety and financial stress, and the impact of this cannot be underestimated.

“Without immediate financial support to help with fixed costs, 41% of our businesses fear that they will face collapse in 2022, and over half have stated that they will face significant struggles. We’re calling on the government to take decisive action to save our hospitality sector. Without this support, Birmingham and the whole of the UK risks losing some of its most popular, distinctive and well-loved venues, and a huge number of hard-working entrepreneurs and their employees are at risk of losing their livelihoods.”