The hospitality industry has reacted to the “Brexit” to victory announced today. As news of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union sinks in The Government has been urged to move swiftly and calmly to address uncertainty and provide clarity to minimise any possible short term effects on tourism and hospitality.
British Hospitality chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said now was the time to keep calm and ensure that hospitality was at the table when decisions were taken for an independent Britain.
“It will be incredibly important as there will be so much uncertainty as there is so much to be reviewed,” she said.
“It will take a very long time so we need to keep calm and make sure our industry gets the best seat at the table especially around decisions on immigration and taxation. It will be critical that our industry is under consideration when decisions are made. Informing them now is critical.”
“Anxiety about the economic effects of independence during the campaign was misplaced.
“The UK will thrive as an independent country, making its own laws, and we will work with our good friends and neighbours in Europe and elsewhere to ensure a positive outcome for all parties.
“The most important factor now is to work together for our mutual benefit.
“On a practical level, from my experience of running a business, the key factor now is to avoid the appearance and the reality of rushing to ‘do a deal’ with the EU.
“There is plenty of time and the UK is in an immensely strong position.
“A period of calm, reflection and discussion will be beneficial.”
UKinbound’s Chief Executive Officer, Deirdre Wells OBE comments: “UKinbound feels the decision to leave the EU is disappointing and inevitably will have far-reaching consequences for our members. However, we have proved time and again that we are a resilient industry and the Government must now work hard to secure a deal which supports our vibrant industry, which relies on the European Union for two-thirds of its business. The priority must now be to ensure that our members have the best possible environment in which to grow their business and to support them in welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe.”
“It is vital that the Government acts quickly to secure economic stability and protect consumer confidence. We will be vigilant to ensure the Brexit negotiations do not harm our exports abroad and the competitive position of beer and pubs in Britain.”
Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:
“The events of the last 24 hours have been momentous and the effects have already been seen on the markets. Clearly the EU Referendum debate has been contentious, but we now call on the Government and all parties to bring stability for the business community.
“FSB calls on the Government for clarity on what these decisions now mean for business, including how businesses will have access to the single market and the free movement of people and trade.
“Nearly a quarter of FSB members export, with the majority exporting to the single market. Access to the single market means access to 500 million potential consumers, more than 26 million businesses and is worth 11 trillion euros. We call on the Government for clarity on the impact to smaller firms who export wider afield through EU FTA agreements.
“These are crucial questions that need to be answered swiftly to ensure the UK’s 5.4 million small business confidence does not fall any further, which is already at the lowest levels since 2013.This includes clarity over the practical implications of this result on how smaller firms do business.
“FSB will continue to be a constructive partner in any upcoming negotiations, ensuring the voice of smaller firms is heard loud and clear.”
David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association “Voters have spoken and decided that the UK should leave the European Union. All must now get behind the government as it faces the challenges, and the opportunities, this decision brings.
“The process of leaving the EU will inevitably generate significant uncertainty. Of course, we are confident Scotch Whisky will remain the pre-eminent international spirit drink. But equally, there are serious issues to resolve in areas of major importance to our industry and which require urgent attention, notably the nature of future trade arrangements with both the single market and the wider world.
“The government will now need to consult as it prepares its negotiating approach. We look forward to working closely with them on that. We urge thoughtful and serious consideration by all parties so that we can secure the best possible continued access to the EU and other export markets on which Scotch Whisky’s success has been built, whilst minimising costs and complexity.”
Peter Backman, managing director of foodservice consultancy Horizons said “The UK economy will now face a period of uncertainty which is likely to be intense over the next few days and weeks, but will be ongoing for five years or so as Britain finds its new way in the world.
“Notably for foodservice, the pound will remain volatile and will trade at lower rates than over the last few years. Consumer sentiment will probably remain depressed, costs will be elevated, and there will be some uncertainty over employment because of our reliance on European labour.
“The foodservice sector will be less buoyant than it would have otherwise been – but the impact is likely to be felt differently in different areas of the business. Sectors that could benefit include tourism-related business including hotels and leisure, while restaurants, QSR and pubs could lose out. However, profitability, and therefore investment in the sector, is now under threat.
“Overall we could be facing reduced sales, increased costs and lower demand from the home market and while this could be offset to a small degree by more foreign tourists coming here due to the fall in the value of the pound, the eating out market now faces less growth than we predicted for this year and next.”