After nine months of lockdown restrictions, with varying degrees of severity, the accumulated household savings built up to £200bn by the end of last year and will be more by the time the economy returns to normal.
Bars, clubs, entertainment, travel, hotels and especially restaurants will likely be top of the spend agenda when we are allowed to go out again. But many businesses in these sectors have accumulated huge debts, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr).
Cebr said that a typical city-centre restaurant “will have furloughed its staff, borrowed from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, taken advantage of HMRC’s schemes to delay tax payments, borrowed from its bank and avoided paying rent.British Land report that only 47% of its due rent was paid last year; Land Securities has just revealed that it has received only 29% of the rent due from its Central London non-office estate.”
According to Cebr, the restaurant’s three biggest creditors will be its landlord, its bank and HMRC. It concluded: “Perhaps most critical is the role of HMRC, which historically has had a chequered record in corporate recovery. To ensure that perhaps as many as a quarter of UK businesses are able to play their part in driving the UK recovery rather than being hamstrung by messy debates with creditors, it is critical that HMRC is tasked with keeping businesses alive and not abusing its status as a preferred creditor.”