ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said the manifesto “outlines the opportunities for policy-makers to support the [eating and drinking out] sector”, as she launched it at the association’s spring conference last week (May 4).
Nicholls said the June general election was an “opportunity” for the pub sector.
This included root-and-branch reform of business rates, a Brexit deal that supports the existing and future hospitality workforce and the appointment of a national night czar. Currently only London has a night czar, Amy Lame.
Rates “rigged” against hospitality
On Brexit, the manifesto called for clarity on both labour and the possibility of cost price inflation from a new trade deal with the EU.
It also urged the government to use post-Brexit powers to reduce VAT on pub and restaurant food.
Meanwhile, the proposed root-and-branch reform of what the manifesto billed as a business rates regime “rigged against hospitality businesses” included calls for more frequent revaluations and for online businesses to pay a greater share of the national rates bill.
Elsewhere, the manifesto called for the abolition of late-night levies and early-morning restriction orders, as recommended by a recent House of Lords report into the effectiveness of the 2003 Licensing Act.
“Pubs and restaurants are resilient and vibrant, but they are facing legislative and financial roadblocks that are preventing them from achieving even more. They need support from politicians if they are to invest and grow,” Nicholls added.
The industry body also launched its Polimapper tool at the conference. It is an online resource that provides a breakdown of the contribution made by pubs, restaurants and bars in each constituency across England, Wales and Scotland.
Nicholls said she hoped the tool would “remind politicians of the importance of the drinking and eating out sector”.