Two Suffolk hospitality giants have signed a letter that has been sent to the government asking them to freeze business rates to help "keep heads above water".

A letter sent by industry body UK Hospitality calling for continued support from the government in the face of an additional £1billion business rates bill next April, has been sent to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of the Autumn Statement on November 22.

Ipswich Star: Chancellor Jeremy HuntChancellor Jeremy Hunt (Image: PA)

Two leading Suffolk businesses have supported this letter – Greene King in Bury St Edmunds and Milsom Hotels & Restaurants.

The letter also calls for longer-term structural reform of the apprenticeship levy, of VAT and a broader overhaul of business rates, helping the hospitality sector drive economic growth.

Ipswich Star: Greene King has signed the letterGreene King has signed the letter

Paul Milsom, chairman and managing director of Milsom Hotels, said: "We and the hospitality sector has gone through a huge set of challenges over the last few years.

"We are all struggling with this huge ramping up of costs, not least heat, light and power costs which are crippling businesses across the country.

"We've had a lot of help from the government over the winter but everybody was cut loose in April and that's been a challenge and is one of the reasons why so many restaurants and pubs have closed, and continue to close.

"Business rates are what's killing lots of businesses on the high street and for pubs, hotels, restaurants and hospitality businesses that have to pay them, whereas lots of big businesses and online retailers hardly pay them at all.

Ipswich Star: Paul Milsom, chairman of Milsom HotelsPaul Milsom, chairman of Milsom Hotels (Image: Paul Milsom/Milsoms)

"We are struggling, we are really struggling at the moment.

"We're trying to keep our head above water like so many businesses across the country.

"It's pretty important that we don't end up with business rates which are a huge cost put on our business which is probably going to mean that we're losing money.

"We hope things will be better at some point in the future when inflation drops.

"For me, this is something that the government does not need to do in terms of reintroducing business rates to our sector, as we still need support."

Ipswich Star: Jeremy Hunt, chancellor of the exchequerJeremy Hunt, chancellor of the exchequer (Image: PA)

Greene King was approached for further comment.