Hospitality trade bodies from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland met in Belfast this week (Tuesday, 10 October) to discuss the current challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
The collective meeting of the trade bodies – known as the United Kingdom and Ireland Licensed Trade Association – comes as hospitality businesses across the UK and Ireland continue to be severely affected by the lasting impacts of the Covid pandemic and the current high cost of doing business as Europe struggles with the fallout of war, all compounded by excessive tax burdens and ever-decreasing consumer spending power.
In a joint statement, the United Kingdom and Ireland Licensed Trade Association said: “There is a whole range of common issues that we share and to be able to come together and discuss those challenges benefits all members of the group. Our collaborative voice is strong and it’s important that we show our collective governments just how important we are to our respective economies, regardless of where we are across these islands.
“We have faced tough times and with sustained pressures of increased energy costs, excessive taxation, workforce issues and a whole range of barriers to business growth things still remain difficult.
“Hospitality is a key economic driver in every part of these islands and provides the backbone of our respective tourism industries. It is now time that our respective governments work in partnership with our industries to secure the future of hundreds of thousands of people, jobs and businesses.
“In particular, as the different jurisdictions move to introduce deposit return schemes, it is vital that there is collaboration between governments and the respective industry bodies to ensure interoperability between the UK nations and the Republic of Ireland markets, which are intrinsically linked.
“As we have already seen there was a potential divergence in Scotland in relation to the inclusion of glass. From an industry perspective, two of the key asks are that we have one interoperable scheme throughout the UK nations and the Republic of Ireland and that glass should be excluded.”