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Unleashing the sector's potential

Posted By Pernille Thomsen, UKHospitality, 09 December 2019

There are fewer than 100 hours remaining until Britain starts voting for an administration to embark on the much-vaunted first 100 days of a new Government. Whatever the outcome may be, our message to the new government is simple – unleash hospitality’s potential and it will unleash Britain’s potential.

We published Menu for Change, our vision for an operating environment that unleashes our sector’s potential, empowering us to optimise productivity and growth and, in turn, benefit communities across the UK. Given the right circumstances, the sector can grow output by 5.5% during the next three years and is in pole position to lead on issues as diverse as sustainability, promoting healthier attitudes to food and drink, and job creation. Hospitality can be the catalyst to revive Britain’s high streets.

Hospitality is the engine of the UK - socially, culturally and economically and as such is vital for the UK economy across every region of the UK, from seaside towns to rural communities. But with a supportive climate that incentivises investment, we can do even more.

Hospitality businesses provide jobs and are the centre of our social lives – the places we spend leisure time with our family and friends. UKHospitality’s data map illustrates the economic impact of hospitality in every constituency in England, Scotland and Wales.

Following the election, UKH will be targeting newly or re-appointed MPs to start their term in Government with hospitality businesses in mind and with an understanding of how we can help them achieve their goals of building a prosperous country for all.

We will lobby for an immigration system that works for the whole economy at all skills levels. The Conservatives’ latest proposals for short-term visas to be granted in sectors suffering shortages, is a confirmation that they are hearing our call to avoid exacerbating skills shortages and allow hospitality to continue its work boosting the domestic workforce. Reform of the Apprenticeship Levy and support for a long-term strategy to create and promote attractive and fulfilling careers as part of the sector deal would similarly empower hospitality.

The Government can further support us by reducing costs and rebalancing tax and regulation. Measures to free up investment must be front and centre: deliver on promises to review business taxation, reduce the burden on property-based outlets, and save our high streets supported by immediate cuts in rates bills. We can be a linchpin for local regeneration, infrastructure projects and increased inward investment.

Often overlooked as an exporter, hospitality forms the core of Britain’s attractiveness as a thriving and valuable tourist destination, bringing in over £24bn from visitor spend. Delivering on the new tourism sector deal and establishing “tourism zones” will unlock our potential as a valuable national employer, changing perceptions of the rewarding careers we offer. These will drive visitor numbers across the country, extend the season and incentivise investment in these areas.

It is important that we convey these positive contributions and our added potential loudly and clearly to our new MPs. Help us by using the toolkits and resources available on the UKHospitality website to contact them, invite them into your businesses and solicit their support for our sector.

Whoever holds the keys to 10 Downing Street on Friday, 13 December, we’ll ensure they know hospitality is a responsible employer and community champion, keen to play our part in resolving the challenges we face collectively.

To download a copy of our Menu for Change, click here or for help and guidance on contacting your local MP candidate, email policy@ukhospitality.org.uk

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