Temporary VAT Reduction
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost everyone across the globe and all businesses in some way, it has been widely documented that Hospitality has been impacted more than most.
On Sunday 22nd March 2020, our six hotels and various other venues within the Lake District Hotels Ltd. group were forced to close for more than 15 weeks. During the closure, Lake District Hotels Ltd. had no incoming revenue, and with property and business expenses still being incurred we suffered significant losses. The Furlough scheme was a support, allowing us to protect hundreds of jobs throughout the lockdown, however redundancies still had to be made and the impact will continue to hit us well into 2021.
Thankfully all of our Hotels have finally reopened, although we are still operating well below normal trading levels mainly due to social distancing requirements in our bars, lounges and restaurants. The Meetings, Events and Weddings business, which is ordinarily an important part of our business mix, is yet to be allowed to recommence fully and Overseas Business is non-existent due to quarantine measures and lack of consumer confidence.
When the UK Government communicated a VAT cut for hospitality in mid-July, The Chancellor was adamant that this initiative was being introduced to protect hospitality businesses not to stimulate consumer demand. Unsure of what our position should be, we consulted at length with fellow hoteliers and with the wider industry and collectively decided that with the prospect of losses still to cover, reduced capacities, weak demand from certain markets and abnormally high operating expenses for the foreseeable future, we would not be passing the VAT reduction onto our guests. Ultimately the rates we communicate are inclusive of VAT and therefore the rates charged and paid remain unchanged.
We appreciate that for a small number of our guests, this decision may be deemed as controversial however our main priorities, as Company Directors, are to support our team, protect the business and ensure that our hotels, restaurants, pubs and spa continue to provide our loyal guests with the experiences we are known for.
Thank you for your support, understanding and positivity during this unpredictable and challenging time. We are forever grateful of each and every guest that steps through our doors.
Charles & Kit Graves and Dani Hope
Lake District Hotels Directors