UKH responds to Covid-19 inquiry consultation

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Deep dive: the inquiry aims to examine the UK's response to Covid-19 (image: Getty/Creative Crop)
Deep dive: the inquiry aims to examine the UK's response to Covid-19 (image: Getty/Creative Crop)

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Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) welcomed the opportunity to comment on the Covid-19 Inquiry draft terms of reference, particularly the specific mention of hospitality.

The public inquiry aims to examine, consider and report on preparations and the response to the pandemic in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

This includes the closure and reopening of the hospitality, retail, sport and leisure sectors as well as cultural institutions.

UKH highlighted the need for a structure that separates the public health and economic strands of pandemic decision-making and called on the Government to consider treating the two as different areas of focus, with an interim report on the economic impacts.

Wide-ranging terms

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re grateful to the inquiry seeking views on how proceedings should best be structured.

“Currently, the draft terms of reference for the inquiry are wide-ranging and we’re concerned they may be grouped too broadly to allow for effective consideration.

“This runs the risk of key learnings from individual sectors of the economy – such as hospitality – being missed.

“We believe the inquiry would benefit from adopting a structure that separates out the public health and economic strands of pandemic decision making and impacts, with a view to producing an early interim economic report.”

Fragile looking recovery

The trade body also stated a specific hospitality-focused module would mean the economic impacts and restrictions impacting the sector could be explored fully.

Nicholls added: “This is important – not just because there’s a clear risk of a return to restrictions should subsequent waves prove dangerous enough – but also because of hospitality’s needs to build resilience against future shocks, particularly with recovery looking fragile at a time of soaring cost inflation and the war in Ukraine.

“Having an interim fast-track economic analysis, accompanied by robust conclusions and recommendations relatively early in the inquiry process – while we remain in a period where economic and regulatory levers could be used again – would be extremely useful for all concerned.”

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