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Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Rishi Sunak and Gordon Ramsay hold virtual meeting to discuss how the pandemic has affected the hospitality sector
  • Michelin-starred chef says government support has been a “massive boost” to the industry
  • Discussion part of a new monthly “In Conversation” series the Chancellor is holding with industry leaders – to discuss the challenges of the pandemic and UK’s recovery

GORDON Ramsay has praised the Government for backing the beleaguered hospitality industry – describing the support dished up by Rishi Sunak during the pandemic as the best in the world.

 The Michelin-starred chef, who employs around 3,500 people across the globe, with restaurants in London, France, USA, Dubai and Singapore, said the Chancellor’s interventions has been “instrumental in maintaining some positivity” across the sector.

 Hell’s Kitchen star Ramsay and Mr Sunak had a constructive conversation about the impact coronavirus has had on the industry earlier this week. It was the first in a new monthly “In Conversation” series the Chancellor is holding with industry leaders – to hear first-hand from them about the challenges of the pandemic and how we can turbocharge the UK’s recovery.

 He told Mr Sunak the furlough scheme, VAT cuts and the business rates holiday have been a “massive boost” and “pivotal” to supporting restaurants, bars and pubs across the UK. 

 Gordon Ramsay, who employs over 600 staff in the UK, said:

 “I think as a government, we’ve been supported better than any other country I know. And secondly, you’ve been precise, what you’ve said you’ve stood by and delivered.

  “I think we’ve been given one of the most incredible support systems from the furlough scheme, which was instrumental in maintaining some positivity. I think you delivered beyond.

 “But the downside for me is that we have lost some really good restaurants that were good, but sadly, there are going to be casualties.”

 The Chancellor said he was optimistic that the hospitality sector would bounce back to life once the economy reopened.

 He said:

 “Economically it’s incredibly important, but also it’s that connection with people in their communities. It just gives joy to people’s lives. It brings life to villages, towns across the country, and seeing that taken from us is incredibly sad and we have to recapture that again.”

 Gordon Ramsay, who owns Studio Ramsay, a TV production company, also discussed how the government’s UK-wide £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme had provided a “security blanket” that allowed him to film his new gameshow Gordon Ramsay’s Bank Balance during lockdown.

 The renowned chef, who will open his own Academy later this year, also discussed the importance of supporting young people through the pandemic and praised the government’s expansion of apprenticeships. 

 He said: “My big primary concern for the first three months of this lockdown last year was focusing on the under 30s, mentally connecting, spending more time talking to them.”

 The pair also discussed their love of fitness and football – with the Chancellor saying how much he and his family missed weekend park runs. He also told Ramsay how the chef’s TikTok videos – which have reached millions of people – has kept him and his wife amused over lockdown.

 When asked for his top cooking tips, Ramsay told the Chancellor that like the Budget, preparation was key.  

 “It’s all in the prep right… The prep is 90 percent of the battle,” he added.

Pictures of the meeting can be found here

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