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Chester BID push food and drink in the North West's foodie capital

Chester BID launches food and drink campaign to support Chester’s hospitality businesses as government VAT breaks end.

As the UK’s hospitality sector sees VAT levels rise post-pandemic to 12.5% from 5%, Chester BID launches a campaign to push the footfall to this important sector for the city.

Carl Critchlow, BID Manager explains: ‘The independent restaurant and café sector has proved itself resilient to the pandemic and Chester’s recognition nationally continues to grow. However, as VAT breaks ended in September, the city’s food and drink businesses will need all the support they can get. We need to recognise the impact this has on businesses and as such the BID are supporting the national #VATsEnough campaign call to make the 12.5% VAT rate permanent. The hospitality and tourism industry need the opportunity to build their businesses up again, without having to increase prices.’

Under current plans, VAT will return to its pre-pandemic level of 20% in April 2022, just before the busy summer season.

Calum Adams, co-owner, Shrub on Eastgate said: ‘While we understand the recovery money from Covid must come from somewhere, hiking VAT back to pre-pandemic levels so soon isn’t sustainable for an industry that was hit hard by lockdown measures and ultimately is still dealing with the ramifications.

He added; ‘The sector employs around 10% of the country, many of which are young people. These measures will have a knock-on effect on them. Businesses are going to struggle or have to pass on the costs to their customers.’

Chester BID has also launched a food and drink campaign to push Chester’s food and drink scene through any adverse effect of VAT changes. The city centre currently has over 70 restaurants, 50 bars and pubs and over a dozen independent coffee shops.

Emily Ghazarian, marketing and events, Chester BID explained: ‘Chester sits in great stead reputationally - we had the most successful entry in the Michelin guide this year across the North West, with 8 restaurants featured and a Michelin star, a green star and a bib gourmand amongst them. The city has also been named the UK City of The Year by the iTravel Staycation Awards. We need to continue this momentum – and push Chester as the ultimate destination for a night out or a weekend away- and we hope our campaign can push this message through.’

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