MPs Back Calls To Support Hospitality Businesses

MPs from across Parliament have called for measures to support the sector and demonstrated their backing of UKHospitality’s key asks.


In a Westminster Hall Debate on ‘fiscal support for the hospitality sector’, secured by Alyn Smith, MP for Stirling (Scottish National Party), there was broad agreement from MPs that the sector was in need of further backing by the Government.


Many MPs echoed UKHospitality’s key asks ahead of the Budget, including a lower rate of VAT, addressing business rates increases due in April and wider reform of business rates.


Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said: “It was excellent to see so many MPs attend the debate today, responding to our calls and those of hundreds of hospitality businesses that urged them to do so.


“It’s evident from the debate that MPs recognise the challenges facing the sector and back our calls for urgent action. There was particular cross-party support to lower the rate of VAT and reform business rates – all priority asks of ours.


“I hope the strength of feeling shown today is heard loud and clear by the Government and that they take the necessary action in the Budget to help this strategically important sector.”


Some of the most powerful contributions from MPs included:


Alyn Smith, MP for Stirling (Scottish National Party), said: “Am I looking for special treatment for the hospitality sector? Yes. I think they need it and I think they deserve it. I think they need it because of unprecedented economics times we’re living through and they deserve it because these businesses are not just part of our economy. They’re a part of our society, they’re community hubs, they contribute to our sense of place, they keep our high streets busy.


“So, what am I calling for? If you remember only two words from me today, it is cut VAT.”

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East (Conservative), said: “My simple, but critical, call to action today is please listen to the hospitality sector, who are screaming out that VAT is too high. Please reconsider the decision to raise VAT to 20%, otherwise you will face ever more business closures and subsequently raise less tax for the Exchequer.”


Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay (Conservative), said: “I think we need more fundamental reform of business rates for the hospitality sector to reduce the burden of that particular tax.”


Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Liberal Democrat), said: “I really hope the Minister will listen and bring in the actions we need. All we’re asking you to do, Minister, is back a sector that will boost our economy to the tune of billions more.


Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central (Labour), said: “The hospitality sector is at the sharp end of all markets sensitivities. It feels every economic challenge acutely. The sector needs support.”