Hospitality leaders urge Government action on 'unprecedented pressures'

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Industry pressure: UKHospitality's Kate Nicholls demands action from Government
Industry pressure: UKHospitality's Kate Nicholls demands action from Government
Backed by UKHospitality (UKH), 150 hospitality businesses will meet more than 60 MPs at Westminster on 9 October to champion the sector’s contribution to the high street.

The meeting comes as new research, released on 9 October by Ignite Economics, predicts that the sector’s workforce and contribution to the economy could begin to drop by 2022.

Ignite Economics’ report notes that recent cost pressures such as minimum wage increases, business rates, and a reduction in the supply of labour has started to take its toll on the industry, which currently employs 3.2m people, contributed £130bn to the economy and ranks as one of the top seven employers in every region of the UK.

In its least optimistic scenario, named ‘bear case’, the report suggests there could already be 312,000 fewer people directly employed in the sector than in 2017.

Moreover, as reported by The Morning Advertiser​, a new study​ by the Local Government Information Unit and the Portman Group has revealed that 92% of councils believe that the night-time economy can prevent the decline of high street retail.

Unprecedented pressures

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls commented: “With more news of high street closures across the country coupled with findings that the industry could see a fall in the number of people employed, our industry is feeling the strain of the unprecedented pressures it currently faces.

“It is time to stop talking and start taking action. Today, we want to hear meaningful change from parliamentarians and the Government to ensure that we can all play out part to adopt and prosper from Britain’s changing high street.”

Stonegate Pub Company chairman Ian Payne MBE added: “Pubs are the heart and soul of our high streets and play an important role in our social fabric and local economies. 

“Rising businesses rates combined with the one of the highest rates of beer duty across Europe is leading to intolerable pressures on the sector.”

The day is also marked by the launch of UKH’s Aim High campaign, which calls for a digital sales tax to freeze business rates increases, doubling the National Insurance Contribution threshold for employers, a level-playing field for property and online businesses regulation and delivering a Brexit that allows the industry to meet its workforce needs without extra costs.

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