Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully, will meet with petitioners calling for a Minister for Hospitality.
The meeting was agreed after Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to engage with the hospitality sector after raising the issue at the latest session of the Liaison Committee.
A debate on this petition, which was signed by more than 208,000 people, was held on 11 January, where members across the House called for a dedicated minister for the sector.
Ms McKinnell said: “While I welcome the prime minister’s decision to agree to our call for the government to meet with petitioners and hear their concerns about the need for greater support for the hospitality sector, I hope that the prime minister himself will consider their request that he creates a minister for hospitality to oversee government delivery for this crucial diverse sector.
“Although the government has provided a range of support to the hospitality industry throughout this pandemic, there are still great challenges ahead and a coordinated approach on this issue is vital at this critical time.
“The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, and remains vulnerable. Thousands of businesses are struggling and unclear about what lies ahead in the coming months, it is essential there is a focused voice within government to represent the hospitality sector to ensure its place as a key driver of economic and cultural growth in every community.”
Last month, the petitions committee wrote a letter to the prime minister emphasising that hospitality is one of the few sectors which exists in all parts of the country, covering the arts, culture, and tourism.
The sector, the letter said will play a key role in the recovery from the Covid-19 recession, especially in providing jobs for young people.
Although the letter recognised that there is appreciation for the support the government has already given through measures such as the Job Retention Scheme, it emphasised the lack of a long-term strategy for the hospitality industry and urged the government develop a more coordinated approach to the hospitality industry.