|The framework for a productive sector|
The unregulated growth in home-sharing has created issues for hospitality businesses. There are concerns about the lack of regulation associated with such short-term lettings and the security of the UK’s tax-base, with an increasing part of the economy operating outside of the standard tax structure. Short-term lets are not subject to the same consumer protections as hotels, guesthouses and pubs. UKHospitality is calling for a fairer deal for both customers and hospitality businesses in the UK, as many other cities and countries around the world have taken forward successfully.
Position: there must be a level playing field between digital and other operators, ensuring customer safety and peace of mind, as well as an equitable tax environment.
Business to platform relations
The dominance of a small number of online travel agent companies globally has in effect created a situation where some platforms have an unfair level of control and pricing structures. There are also consumer concerns arising from some online platforms’ booking practices, as the Competition and Market Authority has recently highlighted amongst others, which lack transparency (such as unknown criteria for rankings on search and star ratings, pricing claims and focus on price to the detriment of other aspects of the consumer experience). UKHospitality will be taking the industry’s concerns forward at national and European levels.
Position: regulation to deliver clear and transparent information to consumers, and measures to protect operators’ ability to market their offers in an openly competitive manner.
Local authority regulation
Hospitality businesses are subject to a whole host of regulations, many of which are enforced at a local authority level such as food safety and hygiene, licensing, planning and trading standards. UKHospitality members operate to a high standard to ensure that visits to our premises ensure customers are safe and also able to enjoy themselves. However, sometimes inconsistent and unfair enforcement action can cause issues for operators both large and small alike. UKHospitality is the leader in the field with our food catering standards document, which is approved under the Primary Authority scheme – a great example of partnership working between enforcers and the industry. We hope to expand this going forward, in a number of areas. This will help ensure customer safety and satisfaction, provide consistent standards to help enforcement agencies, and give hospitality businesses stability and reliability so they can fulfil their obligations and at the same time grow and invest in their businesses.
Position: work with local government to prioritise and nurture local economies that promote economic growth at the heart of communities.
Packaging is integral to the delivery of high-quality and safe products to our customers. However, there is a need to optimise packaging solutions across the industry for a sustainable future. Government has proposed a number of measures to reduce packaging, and plastics more widely, that will impact on hospitality businesses. These include deposit return schemes, plastic taxes, reform of the PRN system and bans on straws and stirrers.
Position: We adopt a collaborative approach to reducing packaging and plastics across the UK. Where hospitality businesses operate in a closed loop they should not face the administrative burden of a deposit scheme; packaging taxes should apply at the production stage and be used to fund recycling; there should be greater recognition of the value that packaging has for our food and drink products.