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Colliers calls for more government support for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors

16 12 21 Colliers calls for more government support for the retail hospitality and leisure sectors h

Calls from Chris Whitty for people to scale back their Christmas plans after Britain hits its record 78,000 COVID cases a day has had a massive knock-on impact on the retail, hospitality and leisure sector, which now urgently needs Government support says Colliers.

As the public is heeding government advice to rein back from going out to limit the spread of the virus, restaurants have been losing bookings - with some now closing - in what has traditionally been their busiest time of the year.

Colliers says the Government must step in to financially support the sector, which is only just getting off its knees following the extremely difficult 18 months since COVID-19 first struck.

As John Webber Head of Business Rates at Colliers said, “It is ironic that on the day the Act of Parliament outlawing rating appeals became law, the Government through its announcements has damaged businesses in cities throughout the country who rely on visitors – this includes not only restaurants/bars and retail but also serviced offices.”

He added, “Although we are not yet in an official lockdown such as we saw at the beginning of the year, we might as well be for the impact the Government’s public health messaging is having on public behaviour. With calls to work from home as much as possible and to reduce socialising yet again, the retail/hospitality industry is losing custom at a rate of knots, costing billions of pounds. This should surely be accompanied by some sector specific financial support from the Treasury.”

This time last year, businesses in this sector were receiving subsidies via the furlough scheme, a 100% business rates relief on the properties they occupied and were in receipt of substantial government grants. Now with the furlough scheme ended and the sector only receiving a capped two thirds discount to their business rates bills, financial support is much more sketchy. The £2 million cap on rates relief per business that came in after June has meant relief is very limited for the larger chains - the ones responsible for the bulk of employment in the sectors.

According to research one tenth of British restaurants closed their doors permanently due to the pandemic and 1000 pubs/restaurants closed in the 3 months, July to September 2021, after the restrictions were lifted. That’s 16 per day.

“The industry was only just starting to recover” says Webber “And now it’s being hit for six again. The Chancellor needs to come out of the shadows and announce some key reliefs and he needs to do it now. “

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John Webber

Head of Rating



I have over 35 years’ experience in the rating industry and lead a 135 plus rating team at Colliers.  When I took over responsibility for the team in 2005, it consisted of only a dozen people and has now grown into one of the leading rating advisory teams in the country.  I am a member of Colliers' UK Management Executive as well as sitting on the company’s Balance in Business Committee. 

I am regularly called upon by the national media to give my views on a range of business rates issues and I am involved in lobbying MPs/ministers and senior civil servants on business rates matters.

I started my career in the Valuation Office Agency in Kidderminster.  I joined Gerald Eve in 2000 where I spent 10 years before moving to Gooch Webster (now Colliers). I sit on the National Retail Panel of Rating Surveyors Association which provides guidance on how the RSA town committees work with the VOA and valuation matters.  I have also held the postion as Chair of the RICS Rating Diploma Committee having passed the prestigious qualification in 2014. I currently sit on the Rating Surveyors Association National Committee .

Along with Philip Harrison we founded 'Accurates' in 2007, the Collier's Compliance and Audit team, which although forms an integral part of the Rating team is now a leading brand in its own right.

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Suzy Simpson

Head of Content, Communications and PR


London - West End

As Head of Content, Communications & PR for Colliers in the UK, I am responsible for driving the strategic direction of corporate communications, media relations, and the programming and production of multi-channel content to engage external and internal audiences across the UK.

Get in touch for help with: 

  • Content Communication Strategy 
  • Media Relations
  • Corporate & Internal Communications
  • Media Training & Personal Brand Training


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