UKHospitality Comments on the Queen’s Speech

Commenting on the content of the Queen’s Speech, setting out the Government’s legislative proposals, UKHospitality’s CEO, Kate Nicholls, said:

“There’s plenty in today’s address that will unshackle our businesses, to better enable them to create growth. History shows us that hospitality is capable of driving growth across the nation, being in every village, town and city it is uniquely placed to deliver the Governments priorities and drive levelling up, generating jobs and economic growth.

“It must be recognised, however, that the measures in today’s speech will do little to bring immediate relief to the pains that hospitality businesses are feeling in the short term, so we urge the Government to ensure that regulatory reliefs come as soon as possible, to help struggling businesses stay afloat.”

On pavement licensing:

“Making pavement licences permanent is a really positive move. They were vital during the pandemic enabling businesses to trade, when they would otherwise be forced to close or restrict their opening hours. These outdoor spaces also benefit town and city centres, enabling them to enjoy the sort of outdoor experiences available elsewhere, and helping local economies recover faster, contributing to levelling up.

“Pavement licences also revealed the hospitality industry’s ingenuity and creativity, and significant levels of investment which will now continue to return value. That same innovation must also ensure that this opportunity for venues pays due regard to accessibility, so that all customers can benefit.”

On planning:

“The Government is right to look at the planning system which is unnecessarily burdensome and time-consuming. To unlock hospitality’s potential to drive regeneration we need to see reforms that speed up and ease the process. We want to work proactively with local authorities to make sure the planning system is right for businesses and for residents.”

On empty premises:
“Proposals to get empty premises back into use – if properly considered and scrutinised – can make a huge difference in rejuvenating empty properties and, in turn, reviving high streets in our towns and cities. Hospitality can make a massive contribution to recovery and levelling up and it’s vital to the health of high streets that we reduce the number of shuttered properties that could otherwise be trading and generating jobs, revenue and tax receipts.”

On business rates:
“It is encouraging that Government is taking action to simplify and update the business rates system but this needs to be combined with concrete action to reduce the overall burden of rates on hospitality. Cutting the rates hospitality businesses pay will play a crucial role in regenerating high streets and levelling up the nation. The Government’s consultation on an Online Sales Tax offers an opportunity to do this in a cost-neutral manner.”

On package travel and Brexit opportunities:
“It is encouraging that Government is looking again at the package travel regulations in line with a commitment to look at Brexit opportunities. We want to work closely with Government to ensure that this allows businesses to flourish and provide our customers with a wider range of options.”