CEO of the alliance Zelica Carr told ithat mobile vans and parlours had struggled during lockdown and many were concerned about survival. Extending the scope of the VAT policy “could make such a massive difference” to the industry.
Social distancing measures mean that parlours, which tend to be small, are limited in how many people can eat on the premises.
“A lot of our members are finding it’s much safer for themselves and their staff to get people to come in and take away ice cream,” said Ms Carr. “I know the Government is very keen to get people back to the high street and in those premises but for some of those premises, you’re just not able to do that.”
Ice cream vans are also struggling following the easing of lockdown restrictions as they have lost event work at weddings and festivals this year. Many were unable to properly start operating until June, meaning that they missed some of the year’s sunniest weather.
Some businesses have told the Ice Cream Alliance that they are unable to renew their membership because trade has been so badly affected.
While Ms Carr was grateful for the Government’s furlough scheme for workers, she called on the Chancellor to reconsider the VAT rules.
“Mobile operators are the fabric of many of our childhoods and many of our children’s childhoods. We are quite unique in the UK to have mobile vans on streets or at events. I would hate for that to be lost,” she added.
‘Ice cream fits criteria of takeaway food’
Scott Mann, the Conservative MP for North Cornwall, backed the alliance’s calls, saying that the ice cream sector had taken a hit during the pandemic.
“The ice cream is an important part of the holiday experience here in Cornwall, and I am more than happy to back the Ice Cream Alliance’s campaign.”
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