The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF), the body representing hotels and other tourist accommodation in Northern Ireland, has warned that premises are closing and staff are losing their jobs every hour, and urged the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide “immediate” help for the industry.
On the back of the UK Chancellor’s announcement that there would be additional support for staff in the hospitality industry, the Northern Ireland hotel industry has a simple plea, ‘Save our staff’.
Setting out the precarious position that hotels and accommodation providers are in Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) CEO Janice Gault said:
“Health is of course everyone’s primary concern, but for individuals who run hospitality businesses they also have the additional worry of trying to work out how to pay staff. The industry needs to be given support to allow it to ‘hibernate’ over the course of this crisis.
“The hotel industry is sitting on a cliff edge. As one of the largest employers in Northern Ireland, thousands of people depend on it to provide for their families right across the country. Since Monday we have seen over 1,500 people laid off. Today brings more news of closures as hoteliers struggle with the dilemma of limited business, no business funnel and a considerable wage bill. Immediate action is required to give employees access to benefits and business owners access to solid support pathways.
“On the back of the Chancellor’s announcement on Tuesday we need to know how monies will flow and secondly, why our local Assembly seems to be playing catch up on the fiscal nightmare? The 100% rates relief given to the hospitality industry in England needs to be extended to Northern Ireland.”
Janice adds: “Support for the hospitality sector now is an investment in the long-term future of our local community and without it we risk losing our community assets forever. The Government needs to give clear instructions and detail on the support package to rescue the sector and protect thousands of jobs”.