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Businesses face uncertain future with general election

Published:  02 July, 2024

With issues such as cash flow, VAT, businesses rates and staffing all placing continued strain on the UK drinks industry, businesses have just a few days left to decide which parties’ pledges have the best hope of steering the sector towards prosperity.

The four major parties’ manifestos have been released with rapid fire over the last few weeks, each offering various packages of support to the hospitality and retail sectors.

As business owners head to the polls this Thursday (4 July) it is clear there is much at stake.

Both the Conservatives and Labour have committed to lessening the burden of business rates on the industry, which could help to offset a salvo of rising costs.

As well as committing to reassessing business rates, the Conservatives have chosen to also lean into the state of the nighttime economy, pledging to overhaul existing licensing laws and planning regulations.

The Labour Party meanwhile has its eye on reassessing the Apprenticeship Levy with a view to supporting recruitment and job creation for skilled, long-term workers.

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to upgrade the status of tourism in government with a dedicated Minister of State for Tourism and Hospitality to offer more support for businesses.

Lastly, the Green Party has pledged to reduce the rate of hospitality VAT. This is something businesses have been calling for, for many years, arguing that it would result in lower prices for consumers and lead to higher spending and profit.

With such a divergent package of potential measures in place, small business owners are reportedly torn ahead of this Thursday’s general election, which will be the UK’s first since 2019.

According to analysts from, 2024’s election has the potential to implement legislation which will directly impact the operating environment for businesses in the hospitality industry in particular.

“Businesses across the country are preparing for a period of change and uncertainty,” analyst Kyle Eaton said.

“The policies that industry leaders are calling on the government to implement are critical measures towards reducing the financial load on hospitality businesses and avoiding more closures.

“Whether a hotel, restaurant or bar, most in the sector are facing similar financial challenges when it comes to cash flow. Whilst it’s certainly not the easiest time to operate in the sector, there are alternative methods to accessing capital and keeping the business afloat.”

Whichever way the wind blows this week, it is clear that businesses need demonstrable change and government support. For too long, the hospitality industry has been grappling with rising costs and ongoing economic uncertainties. For many, the strain has been untenable, leading to closures which are to the detriment of our economy, consumer choice and high streets.