UKHospitality has welcomed the opportunity to comment on the UK Covid-19 Inquiry terms of reference – in particular the specific mention of hospitality within the Inquiry’s scope.
However, the leading industry body has highlighted the need for a structure that separates the public health and economic strands of pandemic decision making, and urges the Government to consider treating the two as different areas of focus, with an interim report on the economic impacts.
UKHospitality has also stated that a specific hospitality-focused module within the Inquiry would allow the economic impacts and myriad restrictions affecting the sector to be explored fully.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “We’re grateful to the Inquiry seeking views on how proceedings should best be structured. Currently, the draft terms of reference for the Inquiry are wide-ranging, and we’re concerned they may be grouped too broadly to allow for effective consideration. This runs the risk of key learnings from individual sectors of the economy – such as hospitality – being missed.
“We believe the Inquiry would benefit from adopting a structure that separates out the public health and economic strands of pandemic decision making and impacts, with a view to producing an early interim economic report.
“This is important – not just because there’s a clear risk of a return to restrictions should subsequent waves prove dangerous enough – but also because of hospitality’s need to build resilience against future shocks, particularly with recovery looking fragile at a time of soaring cost inflation and the war in Ukraine.
“Having an interim fast-track economic analysis, accompanied by robust conclusions and recommendations relatively early in the Inquiry process – whilst we remain in a period where economic and regulatory levers could be used again – would be extremely useful for all concerned.”