Sacha Lord calls for Gov to introduce 'dedicated minister' for sector

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Priority: Sacha Lord (pictured) urges ingoing Government to introduce hospitality minister
Priority: Sacha Lord (pictured) urges ingoing Government to introduce hospitality minister

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Night Time Economy (NTE) Adviser for Greater Manchester, Sacha Lord, has called for the ingoing Government to introduce a “dedicated minister” for the hospitality sector.

Ahead of the general election​ next month, Lord urged the appointment of a hospitality minster should be considered a “priority”, adding it should be one of the very first moves” made by the winning party.

"While the Business Minister, Kevin Hollinrake, has done well in recent months to liaise with the sector as part of his wider business remit, now is the time for a dedicated minister who is representing hospitality as their sole focus.

Wide-spread ignorance 

"The sector has been left to fend for itself for far too long and this has resulted in multiple misunderstandings around policy as well as a wide-spread ignorance among MPs as to the importance of the industry”, he said.

The NTE adviser explained the industry has been continuously “put at risk” over the past few years, from serving restrictions and curfews during the pandemic to policy around back of house drug testing and ongoing difficulties on energy prices.
In addition, Lord said the sector, which is the fifth biggest in the UK, “underpinned UK tourism”, contributing £93bn to the economy.

He continued: “I am constantly bemused there is no individual speaking on behalf of the hospitality sector in Parliament and helping ministers understand the plight, concerns and needs of operators.

Heavy toll

"More than 23,000 venues have closed over the past three years amid the heavy toll of the pandemic, cost of living crisis and interest rate rises, and now is the time for clear direction and dedicated support.

“Financial stability is just one issue facing the sector, but we are seeing the significant impact of a decreasing workforce as a result of the pandemic and visa regulations, combined with energy costs and business rate increases.”

Earlier this week, the Campaign for Real Ale also outlined its six key priorities​ for Parliament before voters take to the polls on Thursday 4 July, including fairer taxation and business rates reformation.
Lord concluded: "Our sector is struggling and we cannot simply continue to talk into a void.”

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