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King’s Speech – what it means for hospitality

The King has delivered the first King’s Speech in more than 70 years, which marks the start of the parliamentary year.

The speech sets out the Government’s legislative agenda for the next session of Parliament.

What was in it?

Outlined in the speech were a number of new pieces of legislation that are intended to be introduced in the next session and a number of items that are already in the midst of parliamentary process to be ‘carried over’.

There were two pieces of legislation of particular relevance for hospitality businesses:

  1. 1

    Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill

    This bill is an example of one being ‘carried over’ and includes competition measures covering fake reviews, digital platform power in certain markets, and drip pricing.

  2. 2

    Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill

    This bill, also known as Martyn’s Law, intends to protect public places from terrorism in light of the Manchester Arena attack. Part of the announcement was a new consultation looking at measures required for venues in the ‘standard tier’, which covers those with a capacity between 100 and 799.

Our response

Our Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The King’s Speech kicks off a crucial session of Parliament for hospitality businesses, at a challenging time for many and with a General Election looming.

“Of the bills outlined by the King today, the carryover of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill will be important in tackling the scourge of fake reviews. While there is, rightly, a clear focus on consumers, we are continuing to urge the Government to ensure there are measures included to also protect businesses affected.

“Further developments around Martyn’s Law will be especially relevant for hospitality venues. The announcement of a new consultation on the standard tier, for venues with a capacity of 100 to 799 people, is positive and we will continue to make the case for proportionate and practical measures that work effectively for both businesses and their customers.

“With the speech noting the Government’s commitment to pursuing free trade deals, we will continue to make the case for Youth Mobility Schemes to be included as part of those deals and for the Government to pursue stand-alone agreements with appropriate nations.

“The King’s address featured the emphasis on continuing to improve the economic outlook for the nation and our sector continues to look towards the Autumn Statement for action on other critical areas for hospitality businesses.

“Most pressing is the looming rise in business rates next April, which will drop an almost-billion pound bill on the sector. An extension of relief and a freeze in the multiplier is essential for the sector to continue doing what it does best – creating jobs, driving economic growth and investing in communities.”