Supporting Bristol’s hospitality sector

The Government has placed Bristol into tier 3, but left the city’s businesses and council with a multi-million pound shortfall.

We support the calls by the Bristol Association of Restaurants, Bars, and Independent Establishments (BARBIE) for more support from the Government. Here’s my full reply to their recent letter.

Dear Brendan,

Thank you for sharing the attached letter with me and for reaching out regarding support for Bristol’s hospitality sector.

I appreciate how challenging this year has been, particularly for those working in hospitality. The way in which businesses have adapted to keep people safe in recent months has been phenomenal, although this will have undoubtedly taken its toll.

I recognise there are gaps in support and have written to government several times on the issue. I have also spoken publicly about the need for more comprehensive support, most recently alongside Andy Burnham, Sadiq Khan and Steve Rotherham in collaboration with ExcludedUK.

Unfortunately, I have no power to ask that landlords don’t collect rent and Bristol City Council is not in a position to pay the rents of hospitality businesses. We are facing a multi-million pound black hole as a result of the pandemic, with the real prospect of cuts being made as a result of inadequate support from government.

I am pleased to see you including the city’s MPs in the conversation, as they are well placed to raise these issues on the national stage.

I’m keen we continue working closely with the sector and would be grateful if you could help us to quantify the impact on hospitality businesses in the city. For example, do you have figures relating to the rent arrears that businesses may be facing and the costs associated with your asks? This will allow us to consider how best to highlight this issue.

We will continue to use the tools available to us to support all those who have signed your letter, as well as drawing attention to the challenges facing the sector more broadly.

Thank you once again for reaching out and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Marvin Rees

Mayor of Bristol