Ahead of a new season of tourism in Pembrokeshire, Stephen Crabb MP has been working with local restaurant and pub owners to highlight the challenges that many of them are facing.

Recent figures from the UK Hospitality trade body show that pubs and restaurants have been closing in Wales at a faster rate than anywhere else in the UK.

Stephen is keen to focus attention on what can be done to better support hospitality businesses to help make Welsh businesses more competitive.

In Parliament last week, Stephen spoke about the help that measures like freezing alcohol duty, raising the VAT threshold and freezing fuel duty can bring to the industry. He lobbied the Government ahead of the budget to make the case on behalf of Pembrokeshire businesses.

Stephen continues to advocate for support for small businesses on energy costs. He has acted for those tied into new deals at the height of the energy market which left many facing crippling costs.  He was part of a cross party coalition of MPs wanting a VAT cut for hospitality businesses and he has been critical of Welsh Government over their slashing of business support for business rates relief. In their recent budget announcement, the Welsh Government reduced the 75 per cent business rates relief for hospitality and leisure businesses to 40 per cent. In England, the Chancellor froze the Small Business Multiplier for another year and extended the Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure Relief Scheme, offering a 75 per cent discount on business rates up to £110,000. This will save the average independent pub over £12,800 in 2024-25 at a cost of £4.3 billion.

Stephen Crabb MP said:

“As we look ahead to the Easter holiday and the beginning of the 2024 season, this should be a time of optimism and expectation of good turnover, however, no one can deny there are major challenges across the sector, especially here in Wales.”

“Having spoken to local businesses these past few weeks like Marthas Vineyard, The First and Last, The Harp and the Wolfscastle Country Hotel and Spa, I am aware of the pressure points they have and am doing all I can to raise those concerns at a local, Welsh and UK Government level. It is essential for our local community to get behind these independent businesses. They provide important jobs, local facilities, and are vital to our local economy keeping money within our county.”