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UKH: ‘GDP figures highlight importance of hospitality’

Published:  18 January, 2021

GDP figures for November, released last Friday, have highlighted the impact of hospitality on the UK’s economy and made the case for the sector to be “at the heart of reopening plans”, UK Hospitality (UKH) has said.     

Released by the Office for National Statistics, the figures showed UK GDP falling by 2.6%, with hospitality, which was effectively closed in England during the month, accounting for just over one-third (0.9%) of the decline.

The data reinforced calls for hospitality to be supported and central to the government’s reopening plans, said Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKH.

“The latest GDP figures make for pretty depressing, if not surprising, reading. What is noticeable is that hospitality, a sector that was effectively closed down across England in November, is responsible for just over one-third of the decline.

“This really hammers home how important our sector is to the economy. When we were open, albeit with restrictions, in the summer, our return to growth contributed to the economy growing. The figures highlight our power as an economic driver and show why we should be at the heart of plans to revitalise the economy,” she said. 

Moreover, Nicholls reiterated calls for hospitality to be a priority once vaccines have been rolled out to the vulnerable and an exit strategy has been determined. 

“We need to be supported properly if we are expected to power economic growth and spearhead the country’s revival. The level of support has to reflect the hit that the sector has taken and ensure those hardest hit receive the proper help they need,” Nicholls added. 

Last week, research warned that up to 310,000 jobs across the hospitality and tourism sector were at risk without an extension of the reduced 5% VAT rate, as reported by Harpers

Nicholls was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the New Year Honours list for her services to the hospitality sector.