CLH General Election Live – Sector Leaders Share their Views on Labour’s Historic General Election Win

The ballots have been counted the result is in and Labour have won the election by huge majority! Sector leaders have been quick to share their views with CLH News:

11.30am – SLTA Outlines Wish List for New UK Government

The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association) has outlined its wish list for the new Labour UK Government following the General Election on July 4.

Key asks from the SLTA include:

• A reduction of VAT for the licensed hospitality industry

• A long-overdue review of the commercial rating system

• A pledge on no duty increases and duty differential

• A relaxation of immigration restriction/Scottish passport

• No business or personal taxation rises, mitigation support for increased labour costs and capping non-domestic energy prices

SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson commented: “Nothing on our wish list is new – it’s what we’ve been calling for over many years now. However, the General Election presents us with an opportunity to reiterate to the new UK Government that the licensed trade and hospitality sectors really do need some help.

“We particularly highlight the need for the UK Government to reduce VAT for licensed hospitality businesses. The temporary reduction of VAT from 20% to 5% introduced in July 2020 gave support to around 150,000 businesses in the UK and protected over 2.4 million jobs in the overall hospitality and tourism sectors and saved many businesses from going under during a very difficult trading period.

“While we are now past the Covid-19 pandemic, the unprecedented rises in inflation, business operating costs – particularly food and energy costs – and severe staff shortages mean that the current trading conditions are seen as just as challenging, if not more challenging, than during the pandemic.

“For many businesses, a cut in VAT would have an immediate, positive impact on sustaining business viability, maintain job security for over 228,000 people who work in the hospitality sector, and provide new jobs in a sector which is a key driver of Scotland’s economy, supporting £1.6 billion of economic activity.

“It would be proportionate, easy to administer and would bring the UK into line with our European neighbours, improving our competitiveness in attracting both domestic and foreign visitors.”

On reviewing the commercial rating system – a call from all of the home nations within the UK – the SLTA asks that there is an understanding that here in Scotland licensed hospitality businesses are disproportionately burdened with commercial rates charges in comparison with other business sectors north of the Border and in comparison with licensed hospitality businesses in other parts of the UK.

Accepting that the commercial rating system is devolved to each home nation, he added: “An urgent and complete review of the system in England would give impetus for the Scottish Government to do likewise under its somewhat stalled ‘New Deal for Business’, introduced to renew its relationship with the business community in Scotland which saw the government as being ‘anti-business’ and out of touch with the sector.”

Mr Wilkinson said: “In partnership with the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, the SLTA has already called for the introduction of a permanent non-domestic rates licensed hospitality-specific multiplier of 35p to support our pubs and bars, encourage investment, help revitalise high streets, and rebalance the disproportionate business rates burden.

“This would end the sticking plaster policies that only provide temporary relief for the businesses that bring life to our communities, and our city and town centres, where we are seen as the saviour of the high street, and provide one of the largest ‘tourist attractions’ for visitors to Scotland with over 75% of foreign visitors and 68% of domestic visitors using our pubs, bars and restaurants during their stay.”

Commenting on the SLTA’s ask on no duty increases and duty differential, Mr Wilkinson added: “Duty increases are always unwelcome and simply contribute to price inflation. When it comes to duty decreases this is, of course, very much welcomed, especially by the large producers and retailers, and makes a significant difference to that sector. However, when it comes to SME businesses what would make a difference is having a complete overhaul of the UK’s alcohol excise duty system.

“The SLTA has previously called on Westminster to introduce new measures that would create a ‘differential’ between alcohol sold in pubs and bars, and supermarkets. We believe that reducing duty for alcohol sold in pubs and bars would help sustain the licensed on-trade as it recovers from the pandemic and Brexit, and faces the current economic challenges.”


10.22am – A Golden Opportunity to Plant the Seeds of Small Business Growth

Responding to the result of the General Election, Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Tina McKenzie, said:

“Congratulations to the new Prime Minister and Government on their decisive election victory, and congratulations to the newly elected MPs from all parties.

“The clear result of the General Election gives hope that political stability can lead to economic stability and recovery.

“There’s a golden chance in the first 100 days of this new administration to plant the seeds of small business growth, and there are a range of policies FSB hopes the new Government will bring forward.

“These include measures to ease the cost of doing business and support investment and expansion. From tackling poor payment practices by big businesses to their smaller suppliers to reforming the not-fit-for-purpose business rates system.

“The upcoming King’s Speech should include a Small Business Bill to enshrine in legislation much-needed changes to better support small firms and the self-employed.

“Supporting and growing small businesses is good for jobs, good for communities in all parts of the country, and good for the whole economy.

“We’re looking forward to getting down to business and working in partnership with the new Government ministers and their teams – building on how we’ve engaged constructively with them in Opposition. This will ensure that the small business voice is heard clearly and the right actions can be taken to support existing entrepreneurs and encourage new ones.”


10.10am – Clear Need for Change

The Society of Independent Brewers and Associates (SIBA), has this morning welcomed the new Government following a decisive win for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

“The people of the UK have clearly spoken for the need for change. SIBA stands ready, and looks forward to working with the new Government in Westminster and across the U.K. in helping independent brewers be a part of their plans for sustainable economic growth.

Independent breweries are a hugely valued force for good in local communities and right now, more than ever, need support to compete against the Global beer giants that control the market, as well a tax system which sets a level playing field for pub and brewing businesses to grow,” said Andy Slee, SIBA Chief Executive


09.37am – End Decline of British Locals

Commenting on the news that the Labour Party has won the UK General Election, CAMRA Chairman, Nik Antona said: “CAMRA would like to welcome Labour as the new UK Government, we look forward to working alongside them on the issues impacting consumers, pubs, social clubs and producers of beer, cider and perry. It was heartening to hear Labour’s announcement of a five-point plan to “end the decline of British locals” during their election campaigning, and I hope that Labour will implement these proposals as soon as possible.

“Throughout the UK, CAMRA will be campaigning to see progress in improving consumer rights, pushing for the Government to give consumers a right to information about drinks on the bar and the introduction of a new consumer right to a full pint. We hope the new Labour Government will recognise the need for independent producers to have better access to the pub market, with is currently heavily dominated by larger corporations.

“In the run up to the Election, we heard Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves recognise the importance of beer duty to the trade. CAMRA will continue to fight for fairer tax with an increase in the differential between draught and off-trade duty rates, and a VAT reduction on beer and cider sold in the on-trade so consumers can continue to receive all the social and wellbeing benefits pubs offer.

“In England, CAMRA hopes the Government will improve planning protection and enforcement to protect pubs and social clubs facing unfair demolition, and to order pubs to be built brick by brick if necessary. CAMRA has long called for Business rates to be completely reformed in order for pubs to avoid unfair overpayments. It’s great to see that Labour is committed to changing the outdated business rates system to make it fairer between online enterprises and bricks and mortar businesses like pubs.

“We also welcome plans to introduce a genuine community right to buy, which will help many loved pubs stay open and create exciting new opportunities for the sector to thrive.”


09.32am – BII Reacts to General Election results

Steve Alton, BII CEO commented:“We are now looking forward to working with the new Government, to gain the vital investment that our members need to unlock their full potential. Our pubs are unique in their contribution, bringing huge economic impact, accessible, skilled jobs in every local community across the UK, and provide vital social value.

“Our sector has long been specifically referenced by all parties as a key part of our social fabric, as well as our economy. Our new Government must recognise the hugely unfair tax burden that our sector, and particularly the small, independent businesses have shouldered for decades. Our priority will be centred around working with Ministers, MPs and officials to reduce excessive taxation, provide immediate certainty of a continuation of the current business rates relief due to end in March 2025, as well as a full reform of this outdated and unfair rates system.

“With 2 in 3 independent pubs either making a loss or breaking even, the need for investment is clear. If pubs are unable to thrive, we stand to lose so much more than small businesses in their communities. We lose assets of immeasurable social value, connecting and caring for local people, reducing loneliness, raising millions for charity and so much more.

“The key to unlocking growth in every area of the UK, is investment in small businesses, towns and high streets, and at the heart of all of those lies the pub. Our pubs provide skilled jobs, careers and entrepreneurial opportunities for everyone, connecting people and communities in highly regulated, safe spaces, all whilst delivering significant tax revenue into the Treasury.

“Our members need certainty on the future for their pubs, livelihoods and teams, through a fairer approach to the tax they pay as bricks and mortar businesses, providing an experience that cannot be replicated online.

“We will continue to encourage our members to share their challenges with their local MPs, showing them not only the support that is needed for them as small businesses at the heart of their communities, but also the essential and unique part they play in local economies, employment, supply chains and tax revenue into the Treasury.

“Our #MyPub campaign has helped members to engage with their local representatives, and with a large number of new MPs now in place, this is the perfect time to redouble our collective efforts in inviting them to see first-hand the huge positive impact pubs have in every village, high street, town and city across the UK.”


09.03 am – Prioritise Business Rates And Apprenticeship Levy Reform

Kate NichollsUKHospitality is urging the Labour Party to deliver on its manifesto commitments to replace business rates and reform the Apprenticeship Levy in the first 100 days of government.

In its manifesto, the Labour Party committed to:

  • Replacing the business rates system in England and level the playing field between high street businesses and online giants.
  • Reforming the Apprenticeship Levy by creating a Growth and Skills Levy.

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said: “Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on its victory in the General Election.

“We look forward to working with the new Labour Government, which during the campaign has clearly recognised hospitality’s role serving Britain and creating places where people want to live, work and invest.

“We now need to see this followed up with action in the first 100 days. Delivering on manifesto commitments to replace business rates and reform the Apprenticeship Levy would be a clear sign that the Government backs hospitality as the central pillar of the everyday economy.

“Swiftly addressing business rates would fulfil a longstanding ask of the sector and avoid a cliff-edge in April, when current relief is set to end and rates are due to increase again.

“Hospitality, with its presence in every constituency, can act as a powerhouse for driving economic growth, creating new jobs and regenerating our towns and cities. I look forward to working in partnership with the new Government to help deliver its manifesto commitments and realise hospitality’s growth ambitions.”


08.52am – 30 Years of Mismanagement

John Webber, Head of Business Rates at Colliers “Given the size of the landslide victory, there should be no excuse for the Labour party to avoid addressing the business rates problem or to introduce significant reform, which will help protect the high street. We urge reform, as opposed to abolition, to ensure local authorities continue to receive the stable funding they need.

After more than 30 years of mismanagement from successive governments, we now have a multiplier which at over 50p in the pound, means a 50% tax on property occupation, a complicated relief system with business rates deserts in some parts of the country and an appeal system that’s inefficient, lacking transparency and increasingly difficult for businesses to negotiate without an adviser. The current system is just not fit for purpose.

British business deserves more. Let’s hope Labour listens to what we and other professionals and businesses in the sector have been calling for- and don’t just throw the baby out with the bath water. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to tackle the current system: rebase the multiplier to something businesses can afford, review the relief system so that everyone that uses local services pays something, reform the appeal system and to regulate business rates advisers, so businesses are not at the mercy of rogue traders.

We will continue our lobbying role to try and persuade the new administration to create a fair property tax that is affordable, transparent and easy to administer, encouraging businesses to expand and invest rather than downsize or even close down their bricks-and-mortar estates.”


08.31am – Overhaul Business Rates

Chris Jowsey, Chief Executive at Admiral Taverns, said: “We look forward to working with the new government to ensure pubs get the recognition they deserve for all the hard work they put into communities across the UK. Not only are pubs an engine for economic growth, contributing £26.2 billion to the UK economy each year and supporting 936,000 jobs, they are the cornerstone of British life and have been bringing people together for centuries so it’s essential that we continue to facilitate such an important part of community life.

We urge the government to provide an overhaul of the business rates system, introduce beer duty reforms and a cut on employer national insurance to help facilitate the growth of long-term, sustainable pubs that sit at the heart of their communities and support all aspects of local life.”


08.24 am – Prepare for Staff Cost Increases

Saxon Moseley, partner and head of leisure and hospitality at RSM UK, comments on what hospitality businesses should expect with the new government:

“Hospitality businesses need to prepare for an increase in staff costs which will squeeze margins and potentially derail recruitment plans as Labour pledged to remove age thresholds and increase the national minimum wage rates to consider the cost of living. This could see the rates jump to nearer the Real Living wage levels.

“The result could be a whopping increase in wages of over 50% for workers aged 18-20 in April 2025; and an increase of almost 15% in those aged 21 and over, which will acutely hit the hospitality sector and its staff. In addition, if planned changes to zero hours contracts come into play operators will have less flexibility and may have to draw on more expensive agency staff to cover illness, holidays and peak periods.

“There are three quick wins that the new government could deliver to support the hospitality industry now. Firstly, replacing the business rates system to alleviate the biggest burden for hospitality businesses, and stimulate growth. Second, reduce the threshold for visas within hospitality roles to close the skills gap and help recruitment for key jobs such as experienced chefs which the industry is currently lacking. Thirdly, cut VAT on food and drink sales to help businesses who have seen margins eroded in recent years.”


06.30am – Listen and Consult

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA says: “As CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), I warmly welcome the new Labour Government. Your commitment to our sector, vital to the UK’s economy and culture, is appreciated. However, the real work begins now. Our industry faces serious challenges and needs urgent attention to recover from years of neglect through the cost of living crisis and the pandemic.

The night time economy thrives on a dynamic young workforce and consumer base whose energy and creativity are indispensable. Their involvement is vital for our industry’s success and shaping future voters. We must foster their engagement, as a priority and address their needs to ensure a thriving and inclusive nightlife sector.

Our sector must rebuild trust with the new government, after years of feeling misunderstood and undervalued, we must work towards changing the narrative around the value of the night time economy, secure stronger representation at all levels, and create a more integrated regulatory system. We must also address tax disparity, reform business rates, protect independent operators, and align VAT with European standards.

Immediate attention is needed in several key areas. Firstly, we urge the new Government to appoint a dedicated  Minister for the Night Time Economy. This role will ensure focused attention and strategic direction for our sector at the highest level of government. Additionally, establishing regional representatives will then also facilitate effective strategy, communication and coordination across regions.

Independent businesses and culture have suffered heavily over the last four years. Rebuilding and protecting existing businesses, creating a foundation for the future, and funding grassroots spaces and cultural events are essential for recovery. Implementing a heritage protection scheme for venues and cultural spaces will go some way to ensuring the preservation of venues that are integral to our communities.

It is crucial to quickly establish a strong working foundation to support the industry in creating safe, culturally enriched cities and towns across the UK.

More importantly, we urge you to take time to listen and consult on policies impacting our sector, recognising our challenges and our true value in terms of the local economy, community shaping, and the impact on social, physical, and mental well-being.

The new government has a considerable opportunity ahead, with the current majority, there is an opportunity for meaningful and transactional change. We need the new government to prioritise meaningful policy changes, strategic and targeted financial support, and collaborative efforts to shape the future of nightlife. This will ensure a sustainable and thriving future for night time industries.

Together, we can create a robust and vibrant nightlife economy that benefits communities and drives economic growth. The NTIA stands ready to work with you to achieve these goals.”