The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
10, Downing Street

Friday 8 May 2020

Dear Prime Minister,

Ref: Event catering companies have been one of the hardest hit segments of the UK Hospitality sector from the effects of Covid19 and the enforced lockdown. Event Catering has slipped through the cracks regarding government support. 1,000s of businesses and individuals rely on this sector. Our summer has been decimated. A slow return with social distancing measures in place will mean zero to few events being booked for the foreseeable. Our future is bleak, many jobs are on the line.


I am the owner of Top Hat Catering, a Battersea based boutique event catering company in London. I have been in business supplying some of London’s great public and corporate events and to many venues since 2007. We are a relatively small team but we represent a massive part of British industry within which many who rely on our sector will be suffering immensely.


Whilst this is a personal letter, I know that some other companies in my sector (and our suppliers), of which some are far larger than Top Hat Catering, will be looking at the future with enormous concern. Some of those have chosen to support this letter.


First up

I am very grateful for the Governments speedy deployment of the furlough scheme which has certainly rescued some of our full-time staff from the jaws of financial depression. The Government backed Business Interruption Loan Scheme for some of our sector may be a solution but for our business this would inevitably layer us in a substantial debt hole we would never be able to climb out again. We are not asset rich and have high fixed costs. Despite our success we work with slim profits and as Top Hat Catering is self-invested to date we operate growth relatively hand to mouth.

As a segment under the heading of Hospitality, event catering seems to have slipped through the net. There are no grant schemes available and the Business Rates Holiday does not currently to apply to us (despite rateable values and all other eligibility points being met). We cater outside not inside so we do not fall under any offered support.

I am not writing to moan, I am a grafter and a fighter. I have always paid my way, my taxes and my debts. I do not collect any government support other than child tax credits. As a single mother (nearing the end of a divorce) I get little support, but with my two small children I will see this through. On this occasion, however, I am asking for any help you can afford us in such extreme circumstances. I have just written to the landlord of my flat to see if they can accept a fraction of the rent I should be paying.

Big British Business is At Stake
According to Eventbrites helpful infographic*, the UK events industry is worth £43.3bn and 570,000 people are employed full time.  There are over 10,000 venues, 1.3m business events held each year and 85m event attendees. After the Olympics in 2012, the UK has established itself as a world leader in outdoor events and London is considered the #1 city in the EMEA in terms of meetings and events activities.


What are we talking about?
With social distancing measures continuing indefinitely, people will be very nervous to put on or attend events whether mainstream or small gathering like weddings, parties, conferences or tradeshows. Whilst some of the segments within event catering may have received some government support or intervention others have not. With zero and followed by limited events into the future there will be an enormous negative impact on the future of event catering. Many jobs are at risk. Here is the value of Britain’s Events Sector – direct spend by segment which includes all supporting businesses (as well as caterers of course):

·       Conferences and meetings – £19.9 billion

·       Exhibitions and trade fairs – £11.0 billion

·       Incentive travel and performance improvement – £1.2 billion

·       Corporate hospitality and corporate events – £1.2 billion

·       Outdoor events – £1.1 billion

·       Festivals and cultural events – £1.1 billion

·       Music events – £1.3 billion

·       Sporting events – £2.3 billion

(figures based on last years events)


According to Raconteur** – in terms of generating employment, government tax revenue and spending by delegates, the business events sector is a UK economic powerhouse. This is under threat.


Our plea for more and continued support

We need some help right now to see our creditors right and to also help carry us through the lockdown (to cover rent, on-going bills and handle bad debt in order to keep the pulse of our business going). Catered events are not going to just bounce back when lockdown is relaxed. We are terrified that furlough will end and the expectation will be that business is back to normal – this is very unlikely to happen this side of Christmas.


Please consider:

·       Treating event catering businesses as other Hospitality businesses such as restaurants, cafes and hotels.

·       Ensuring that the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) is extended to include event catering businesses.

·       Extending the time period of furlough until end of Q1 2021.

·       Providing and extending the Business Rates holiday to event catering businesses until end of Q2 2021.

·       Assisting in rent payment to landlords for up to 12 month rent free period.

·       Reducing VAT for event catering businesses throughout 2020/21.

·       Further extending the time for repayment of deferred VAT/PAYE, allowing for normal trading to fund these payments.

We appreciate these are extremely difficult times for the government. Thank you for reading this far.

Best Regards

Hattie Mauleverer

Founder & CEO Top Hat Catering



List of Supporter for the Event Industry

Tim Brennan – Caper and Berry – Owner

Stuart Jenkins – Blue Strawberry – MD

Michael Symonds – Rocket Food- Founder

Nick Mead – Eden Caterers – MD

Murray Tollemache – The Pieman – Founder

Oli Charrington – Alresford Marquee – MD

Isabelle and Stewart Penfold – Couvert Hire – Owners

James MIddhurst – Kalm Kitchen – Co Founder

Ian Williams – Jacaranda Catering

Glen Sutton – Eventist – Group MD

Gary Peters – Evolve Events – MD

Jonathan Senior – JCS Events Consultancy

Owen Lawrence – The IAC – Venue – CEO

Philip Atkin – Off to Work – Founder

Lucy Verner – Urbane Caprice – MD

Jeremy Garscon

Alex Head – Social Pantry – Founder

Suzanne James – Suzanne James Catering – Founder

Jonathan Franks and Victoria Nalson of Pure Indulgence Catering.

Debbie Green – Greens Catering

Ruth Lawton Owen – The Admiral Crichton Events LTD

Clare and Sarah – Doggart and Squash

Gareth Palmer – Vanilla Bean

Liz Panter – Cavendish Events

Alix Caiger – Caiger Events – Founder

Mike Pope – Place Settings

Jay Burgesson-Carter – Food Show

Jonathan Ian Waterman – Wedding planner

Charlotte Selbie – The Food Initiative

Mark Maher – Boulevard Events

Andrew-Leslie Burton

Henrietta Green – Freelance event planner

John Stockton – The Recipe


Barney Mauleverer – Fuel 10K and Fresh Marketing

Cocktail shack

Amy Hackett-Jones – Freelancer

Mai Suya London

Sylvia Garvin – Sejuiced Ltd

Favour Catering and Events

Les Enfants Party

The Merry Kitchen

Julia De Silvo – Blue Strawberry

Sunley Events

Big Event Catering

Lena Bjork – Alexander and Bjork London

Pinstripes and Peonies flowers

The Pop Up Kitchen

Fun Thyme Ltd

MSK Catering Services

Crystal Hire Ltd

Noble House Events

Anna Peterson – Director of Events and Marketing – Alison Price

Dan Maxwell – Troika

Jennifer Lockham – Head of Events – Banqueting House

James Tozer

Sophie Sundberg

Tim Robinson – Twist London

Vaughan’s Kitchen

Donald Sze – Freelancer

Sarah Bibbey

Emma MacDonald – The Baytree

Francis Poku – Freelancer

Grace Hudson-Evans – Freelancer

David and Annie Mauleverer – Family

Allan Dyer

Lucia Kelly

Imogen Krupski – Capital Cooking

Guy Hoogewerf – Ncompass

Kim Ashman – Freelancer

Joanna Tufnell

David Wintle

Tony Page Catering

Jay Collins-Downe – Creventive

Natalia Hollingsworth – Director – Golborne Events

Edwina Vine – Freelance

Axel Bernstorff – Photographer

Alex Hoogewerf – Stretch Event Production Ltd

Lady Toulson

Charles Mauleverer – musician

Collins Larrys – Freelancer

Carolyn McCombe

Johnny Roxburgh – Party Architect

Victoria Potter Head of Events – Permira

Claire Arouche – Head of Events – National Gallery

Nicki Plowman – Event Manger – Permira

Kelly Balmer – Freelance

Jackie Filmer – Jackie Filmer Catering

Dan McEvoy – Real Cooking

Jessica Kruger – Gastro Unforgettable Events

Jeremy Sumbler – Covered Occassions

Charlotte Aitken and Katie Cricton -Stuart – Albion Parties

Mimi and Claire Ferrini

Simeon Hudson-Evans – Supplier

Crysta Hire Ltd

Xavier Cadiou – Director – Polar Black

Wendy Lewis -Wendy Lewis Flowers

Carway Roe Events

Lamb Catering

Clean Slate Catering

Steven Duggan Events

Matt Bradey – Covent Garden Marquees

Tina Johnson

Sue Yates

James Waterlow

Madeliene Cardozo – Photographer

Heather Hitchen

Gavin Ingram – Bite Events

Options London Ltd

Great Hire Ltd

Kate Mogford – Rare Food

Pru Moger – supporter

Josephine Grace

Alix Stevenson

Sarah Spooner

Evolve Events

Lettuce Catering

Simon Liebel Entourage

MK Catering

Oxford Event Hire

Moriaty Events

Napier Catering

Jo Grace – Freelancer

A cross section of our industry and does not include the people who liked the posts.