THE SNP is demanding the UK Chancellor offer targeted support to help the hospitality sector amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Douglas Chapman, the SNP’s small business spokesperson at Westminster, has written to Nadhim Zahawi to warn that failure to help firms "will result in a decades-long legacy of businesses in ruin".

Proposed measures include the reintroduction of the 12.5% VAT rate for leisure and hospitality businesses, steps to limit further increases to energy bills, and incentives for workers to fill hospitality positions.

This follows Ofgem warning the Government on Friday that its response must "match the scale of the crisis we have before us" after the announcement that average yearly energy bills will rise to £3549 from £1971.

READ MORE: UK energy crisis due to ‘catastrophic Westminster policy failure’, expert Sean Field warns

Chapman said that it would have been “nigh-on impossible” for small firms to survive the pandemic without the support given by the Scottish and UK Governments - and that a similar response was needed now.

He added: “So far [the UK Government] has done nothing to help businesses who are set to be shafted by rises to energy bills that will see firms paying 400% more for gas and electricity, and have done nothing to prevent a loss of trade from the hit households are taking to their incomes.

“Failure to act will result in a decades-long legacy of businesses in ruin, sky-rocketing unemployment, and barren high streets and towns.

“This is largely a crisis of the UK government's own making - it’s time now they step up to the plate and offer the support that’s needed.

“If they won’t do that it’ll go to show, once again, why only with the full powers of independence can we fully support our treasured hospitality sector and the people upon whose income it depends.”

Speaking with the Daily Telegraph, Zahawi said he was considering a package to assist small businesses, which could include cuts to VAT and business rates for hospitality and leisure firms - similar to what was seen during the pandemic.

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Zahawi said that without help for small and medium enterprises, there could be a “longer-term scarring effect on the economy”.

He added: “So what we did on business rates, what we did on VAT for particular sectors like hospitality. So we’re working up all those options to look at those.

“And of course Liz Truss has talked about removing a moratorium on the green levies for a couple of years. We’re looking at that as well, which will help everyone with about £150.”