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Parties urged to back hospitality to 'serve Britain’

Published:  13 June, 2024

Hospitality can deliver for Britain by growing 6% a year and creating 500,000 new jobs with the right investment, according to economic analysis from UKHospitality and Ignite Economics.

At its annual summer conference, taking place today (13 June), UKHospitality will call on all political parties to give their backing to hospitality – a sector which has the potential to grow at a significantly faster rate than the wider economy, while also providing new jobs and regenerating communities, UKH and Ignite said.

UKHospitality’s policy recommendations for an incoming government include fixing business rates with a permanently reduced rate for hospitality and tourism, plus reforming the Apprenticeship Levy. They are also calling for planning reform to allow more hospitality-led regeneration of towns and cities, alongside the need to review and reform VAT to bring it in line with European rivals.

The call comes during a week of party manifestos being launched. The Conservative party has recently pledged to reform what Nicholls has called “the unfair burden of business rates”, which means hospitality businesses have to pay “three times their fair share”. The Conservatives have also committed to undertake a review of the nighttime economy.

Today, Labour also announced the inclusion of two major hospitality led priorities in its 2024 general election manifesto. The party has pledged to replace business rates and reform the Apprenticeship Levy.

In her opening speech to the conference, Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, will say: “Hospitality is a huge economic engine, with a turnover of £140 billion and £54 billion in taxes, funding vital public services.

“Make no mistake, we are working as hard as anyone to create the economic growth this country desperately needs. But our impact goes far beyond that. We make memories, and we make places. Places where people want to live, work and invest. Hospitality can be the difference between a thriving community and a failing one.”

The full impact and potential of the on-trade has been highlighted in a new report cosigned by UKH and Ignite Economics. According to the report, the wider hospitality industry is the third largest employer in the UK behind the wholesale & retail trade and health & social work.

It is also one of the fastest growing. In terms of job creation, the wider hospitality industry has accounted for circa 17% of the overall UK employment growth between 2009 and 2019, placing it fifth out of 20 industries in terms of the total number of jobs created.

Nicholls added: “The future can be even brighter. With the right investment and support, hospitality can grow by 6% each year. That’s six times higher than the wider economy. It would mean another half a million jobs.

“Our message to all political parties was and is simple. Back us. Back hospitality… Back us to serve Britain.”