The hospitality industry is today gathering in in Parliament Square for the third time in two years to protest about the government’s lack of support, which killing the say sector.
Rachel Harty, HospoDemo organiser, said that members of the hospitality industry will converge on Parliament Square at 10.30am to persuade the Government to revise its existing policies relating to hospitality venues.
She said protesters from all corners of the sector including restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs, hotels, and cafés, will come together to stand up for their industry.
“Dressed in their work uniform, they will come equipped with pots, pans, ladles, cocktail shakers, wooden spoons, last orders bells and other hospitality-related tools with which to make themselves heard.
“At 11am, all protesters will turn to face the Houses of Parliament and make as much noise as possible to ensure the sound resonates within the building, before marching on to HM Treasury to do the same.”
Prominent attendees from previous HospoDemo protests included chefs Yotam Ottolenghi, Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens, Fergus Henderson and Margot Henderson.
Tom Kerridge commented: “The situation hospitality businesses are facing now is nothing short of a nightmare. I fully support HospoDemo in its efforts to make the Government accountable by urging them to make policy changes such as a 10% VAT reduction, a business rates holiday and an overseas worker visa system. The question is, how many more hospitality businesses need to fail before the Government takes action and gives our sector proper support?”
Hospitality represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP. Hospitality is the third largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined.
This protest will centre around three main demands to the Government, with the primary aim being a VAT reduction to 10% on food and drink sales, including alcohol sales, putting the UK in line with many European neighbours.
Protesters are also urging to the Government to reinstate the business rates holiday and are demanding the introduction of a visa scheme to allow overseas workers to work in hospitality, in an attempt to alleviate a longstanding labour shortage that they say has worsened since Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.