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Government promises to engage with and listen to hospitality sector

Published:  22 September, 2021

The business minister Paul Scully MP has promised that the Government will continue to listen and engage with the sector.

Speaking at the UKHospitality (UKH) annual conference the minister who is in charge of consumer affairs, SMEs, labour markets and London, acknowledged that hospitality’s recovery was critical to underpinning the UK’s wider economic recovery.

He also welcomed the recently published Hospitality Strategy as a blueprint for future relationships and dialogue between Government and businesses across all sectors.

The conference, which took the theme of ‘Recovery & Beyond’ saw a line-up of business leaders, industry experts and policymakers join with operators and suppliers from across the sector to discuss the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead after the impact of the pandemic.

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls called for additional Government support to help safeguard the sector’s recovery and rebuild resilience in the form of a permanently lower VAT for hospitality and tourism.

She also highlighted that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the sector.

“The last 18 months have seen hospitality lose over two thirds of its normal revenue, 10% of its businesses and headcount fall by almost 30%,” she said.  

“We will aim to consolidate the profile the crisis has given the sector as a critical part of the UK economy and the perception of the role we can play as a vital partner with Government to deliver on the broader agenda needed to help UK Plc recover, build back better and stronger.”

Ian King, host of the daily business programme on Sky News, also spoke at the event and provided an economic overview both globally and for the UK.

He told attendees that the economic recovery is “different this time” compared to the post-2008 crash with both business and household balance sheets not suffering from the same “economic scarring”.

Further insights from CGA and STR highlighted the opportunities available to the sector over the weeks and months ahead. It revealed that for restaurants and bars a new hybrid model of working from home offered opportunities for premiumisation in suburban locations.

Last week, Nicholls issued a stark warning about the importance of allowing businesses to remain open, following the UK government's unveiling of its strategy for managing Covid-19 during the autumn and winter months.