Ahead of the Spending Review, UKHospitality has called on the government to “act decisively” to support hospitality and tourism.
UKH has identified four key areas in which the government spending can support the country’s hospitality industry:
- Business rates
UKH said the government can begin to fix the broken business rates system by: providing one-year local authority funding of £1.5bn to fund a reduction in the business rates multiplier (Uniform Business Rate) of 5% for one year; investing in the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) to clear the backlog of appeals resulting from the 2017 revaluation and encourage more appeals to come forward; and ensuring the VOA is suitable resourced to carry out the 2021 revaluation.
The UK’s world-class tourism sector can be supported with: increased investment in overseas markets to promote the UK as a destination of choice; a commitment to developing rural transport infrastructure to boost rural tourism; cooperation with industry and local authorities to support sustainable tourism throughout the country, with additional funding from central Government where appropriate.
- Skills, training and workforce
It argues the future hospitality workforce can be secured and supported if the Government reduces the SME contribution to apprenticeship training to zero and increases the apprenticeship levy top-up from Government to 25%. It also called for investment in college education, particularly in the areas of hospitality, catering and tourism.
It additionally asked government to match industry resources raised to promote careers in hospitality as committed in the Tourism Sector Deal; expand marketing for Settled Status scheme to encourage greater take-up and make current EU citizens welcome in the UK; and provide additional resource to the Home Office to ensure it is able to meet the demand.
UKH also urged the government to “invest heavily” in border arrangements to ensure that trade of goods into and out of the UK is as smooth as possible; and ensure that tariffs on food and drink products are minimised and where necessary use Government funds to ensure that food price inflation is kept “under control”.
UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “At a time of political and economic instability, the 2019 Spending Review is a fantastic opportunity to promote growth among hospitality businesses.
“The sector is enormously valuable, in economic terms, but also socially. Hospitality makes a difference in every region and every community in the UK, but some businesses need support during what are difficult times. High streets have been hit hard and many businesses are looking ahead anxiously to Brexit.
She added: “The action we have outlined in our submission could provide valuable support to businesses and the workforce. The government has an opportunity to support hugely valuable businesses and provide opportunities for the millions working in our sector. We urge the Government to listen and act now to boost hospitality.”