UKH welcomes biz rates reform pledge

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Pledges made: the Conservative party has laid out its manifesto ahead of the upcoming general election on 4 July (image: Getty/Abdullah Durmaz)
Pledges made: the Conservative party has laid out its manifesto ahead of the upcoming general election on 4 July (image: Getty/Abdullah Durmaz)

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Trade body UKHospitality (UKH) has welcomed a pledge in the Conservative party’s election manifesto that claims it will commit to fixing the ‘unfair burden of business rates’ for hospitality firms.

In the manifesto, it claimed to support firms with a business rates support package, estimated to be worth £4.3bn over the next five years to support small businesses and the high streets.

As part of this, it said in the next parliament the party would deliver a 10-point plan to support small and medium-sized businesses such as increasing the multiplier on distribution warehouses that support online shopping over time.

The manifesto said this would ‘continue to ease the burden of business rates for high street, leisure and hospitality businesses’.

Unfair burden

UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are delighted to see the Conservative manifesto commit to delivering UKH’s call to fix the unfair burden of business rates on hospitality businesses.

“Last year in our manifesto, we called for a total reform of the broken business rates system that sees hospitality businesses pay three times their fair share.

“We need a permanent, lower rate for hospitality that lets businesses invest in high streets, creating places people want to live and work.”

Apprenticeships will also receive a boost, according to the manifesto with the Conservatives planning to create 100,000 more in England every year by the end of next year.

This was welcomed by UKH but alongside a warning about the current apprenticeship levy system, as the trade body called for it to be changed.

Policy recommendations

“Hospitality is a unique sector in being able to provide jobs for everyone, everywhere and we are pleased to see a commitment to fund 100,000 apprenticeships for young people,” Nicholls said.

“However, problems with the existing apprenticeship levy system need to be fixed first and reform of that levy is a high priority for the sector.”

The manifesto, which has been launched just over three weeks before the general election on 4 July, claimed the party would launch a review of the night-time economy in England, looking at how to reverse the decline in pubs and clubs numbers.

Nicholls added: “We are also pleased to see a pledge to review the night-time economy in order to harness the power of hospitality, which is the beating heart of our vibrant nightlife in this country.

“UKH has clearly set out its policy recommendations for a future Government and we will continue to assess pledges in all part manifestos against the needs of the sector.”

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