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Serving Britain

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Policy ideas to unlock growth

Serving Britain - policy ideas to unlock growth

Hospitality creates places where people want to live, work and invest.

Hospitality is a powerhouse that employs 3.5 million, contributes £140 billion in economic activity and £54 billion in tax receipts to the economy every year.

That impact matters more now than ever. Governments across the West are considering how to create growth, widen opportunity, and move beyond the economic challenges of the last few years.

Hospitality can play a major role in our national renewal. We can serve as a catalyst for growth in every community not just in our major economic hubs. Given the right conditions, the sector could accelerate growth by 6% per annum over the next five years – six times higher than the overall national picture, creating 500,000 jobs in the first term of a new Government. With the right investment from government, we can turbo-charge our ‘foundation economy’ and set the industry free to do even more.

Creating places where people want to live

Hospitality creates meaningful, vibrant communities where people want to live. Whether you’re in a neighbourhood where the local  community is the social focal point, you have a favourite cafe or restaurant or you are in a major city surrounded by world class eating and socialising opportunities, hospitality nurtures and celebrates successful places.


The Kent seaside town of Folkestone has been transformed through investment by a local charitable foundation which has turned the harbour arm into a vibrant hospitality and cultural space.

It houses permanent restaurants, food trucks and bars alongside space for watching major sporting events and small business retail. Many of the businesses along the harbour arm are small businesses owned by local people. An immediate effect of this investment in Folkestone has been a significant increase in tourism visitors and spend, with a 10% increase in footfall in the five years to 2022, growing despite the pandemic. I Investment has followed this increase in the visitor economy, with new dining options along with important investment in local hotels.

Employment in Folkestone rose from 73% to 83% of 16-64 year olds between 2012 and the start of the pandemic. In the longer term the success of the regeneration of Folkestone as a hospitality and leisure destination has led to the wider regeneration of the town including investment in new housing.

Creating places where people want to work

Hospitality brings jobs for everyone, everywhere, regardless of their circumstances or what they are seeking from work. That makes hospitality a unique employer. It creates social mobility, providing rapid routes into leadership and skilled careers across the country and society, including for people who may experience barriers to other careers.

Recognising the potential of ex-offenders

As a company which includes prison management and contract catering in its areas of activity, Sodexo is able to provide a bridge for ex-offenders into hospitality jobs as part of their rehabilitation.

Sodexo’s employment, education and rehabilitation services give those in their care the skills, qualifications, and support to lead law-abiding and productive lives in their community on release. Sodexo runs prison career hubs  to ensure leavers are prepared for the outside world. Employment specialists, career advisors, and staff members not only hold interview techniques and CV writing workshops but also help leavers to access official identification documents and a bank account, which makes it easier to find employment and accommodation.

Sodexo is committed to filling 5% of its own job vacancies with prison leavers.

Places where people want to invest

Hospitality can be the foundation of the UK’s industrial strategy in the coming years. As well as being a fast growing domestic and export sector it its own right through the tourism and visitor economy, it underpins the wider economy by creating places which attract investment. Without a vibrant hospitality and culture sector, no industrial strategy can succeed.

The International Convention Centre Wales

The 5,000-capacity conference centre ICC Wales is a major example of joint public/private capital investment using hospitality as a regeneration tool.

The development was opened in 2019 on the site of Celtic Manor in Newport, which previously hosted the 2014 NATO summit, following a joint £83 million investment by the Welsh Government, Celtic Manor, and NatWest Bank.

That investment has fed into the local economy with £22 million of contracts for the construction phase alone including for the catering fit out to Newport-based Shine Catering Systems, and for carpentry to Hazelwood Carpentry Contractors Ltd, based in Pontypridd.

After construction the ICC is expected to create 150 permanent jobs on site and more in the local economy through supply chain benefits.

Newport has also seen town centre capital investment in the hospitality sector supported by a £17m Transforming Towns grant that has funded a new hotel and a new indoor market, encouraging several new venues to open.