Expert Insights NEWS from

At the end of this month the clocks go back one hour and nights really begin to draw in. Personally, it’s my favourite time of year. There’s a crisp-but- dry chill in the air, the football season is in full swing and autumnal fashions (obviously the best season for clothes) make their presence known. At the end of October, there’s also a chance to enjoy the most outrageously camp, half-baked excuse for a holiday, Halloween. Pretty much shorn of all of its ancient Celtic or Western Christian meaning, the occasion more-or-less exists these days as an opportunity to indulge in some moderately spooky nonsense.

For venues, it’s a great opportunity to put on a vaguely horror-themed disco, ride the continuing wave of zombie- mania and pack the crowds in. However, as you drop the needle on Bobby Pickett’s Monster Mash, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (Part One), or John Carpenter’s wonderful Lost Themes, beware! Very soon it could cost you far more than you bargain for to spin your favourite cuts from the crypt in your venues.

Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) the performance rights organisation that represents record labels has recently consulted on a change to its Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) Tariff. This is the tariff that applies to nightclubs, bars, pubs and hotels. If you play recorded music in your venue, almost certainly this is the tariff that applies to you. Under PPL’s suggested proposals, bills will, on average, increase by over 400% and some of our members have

Kate Nicholls UKHospitality Chief Executive

UKHOSPITALITY Warns Government Over Venue Closures

UKHospitality has reacted to the latest CGA Market Growth Monitor by warning that unless the Government unveils a comprehensive package of support for hospitality businesses at the Budget Statement, the rate of closures will only increase.

calculated that will increase upwards of 900% for them. As Halloween approaches, these proposals look like the real horror-show PPL last considered an increase in the SFE Tariff in 2011 and, thankfully, trade bodies such as the ALMR and BHA were able to see off the increase with a proverbial stake through the heart. Now, the grim spectre of another increase has risen from the grave like one of George Romero’s walking dead, but with an appetite for eating into your profit margin rather than your brains.

UKHospitality has responded to the consultation, compelling PPL not to go ahead with such a costly increase that threatens to pile even more pressure on late-night venues. With PPL due to mull over the proposals in November, the omens look uncertain. With any luck a sensible decision will be reached, and our pubs and clubs will have no reason to scream.

CGA has today published stats that show Britain now has over 3,000 fewer licensed restaurants, pubs and bars than it did 12 months ago - a fall of 2.5%, representing an average net closure of eight premises per day.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:

“The perfect storm of cost pressures presented by ever- increasing business rates and wage costs continues to batter the hospitality sector. Despite promises from the Government to reform business rates, pubs, restaurants and bars are still forced to operate within an unfair system that favours digital businesses above those at the heart of communities.

“With Brexit a little over six months away, it is crucial that the Government provides the sector with the support it needs and that has been repeatedly promised. UKHospitality will be hammering home the message ahead of the Budget that, unless support is provided, the rate of closures will only increase.”

6 OCTOBER 2018


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