Support is needed to help hospitality businesses deal with the threat of coronavirus, UKHospitality has said.

The body, which represents 700 businesses, has written to the Prime Minister highlighting the impact of COVID-19 already being felt businesses around the country.

Figures show that eating and drinking out has declined by 7 per cent. It has also warned that forward bookings across hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars has fallen by up to 50 per cent

With businesses likely to be hit further as self-isolation becomes more widespread, the letter calls on the Government to implement urgent measures.

It includes a moratorium on business rates for a minimum of 3 months and a VAT cut for hospitality and tourism, to incentivise bookings, so that trade can resume as quickly as possible when the virus threat subsides.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: "Hospitality businesses are on the front line, so to speak. There has been a significant impact on the sector. Bookings are down, footfall is down, and all signs point to it getting worse before it gets better.

"This is now an emergency for our sector. If Government doesn't act to mitigate the impact and give us support, businesses are in danger. This means cash flow becomes a problem, venues are under threat and jobs at risk.

"By the time the immediate threat of the virus has subsided it may be too late for some businesses. Support is needed and it is needed now."