UKHospitality has published a raft of recommendations for local government ahead of elections in early May, stating the sector’s crucial value as an agent for positive change for post-Covid communities across the nation.
UKHospitality’s Manifesto 2022: Revitalising Local Communities lays out a dozen ways in which local authorities, councillors and council officers can help the sector get communities back on their feet, while simultaneously demonstrating that hospitality is best placed to lead the UK’s economic recovery.
The leading trade body has outlined 12 policies, spanning three crucial areas ahead of polling on Thursday 5 May: People, Promotion of Place, and Partnership.
Key among them are ways to promote the sector’s ongoing work to tackle its crippling 400,000 jobs shortage; licensing extensions and faster planning processes to encourage business; and spotlighting the innovative work the industry is doing to support the Government’s 2050 Net Zero target.
The elections come as thousands of hospitality businesses devastated by Covid begin to recoup some of their losses of the past two years. UKHospitality’s manifesto seeks to inform local authority leaders, elected representatives and local and regional authority officers about how best they can support those businesses, and in turn drive recovery, employment and investment across the UK.
Despite facing several hurdles on their way to recovery – huge accumulated debt, VAT back to 20%, and huge energy price increases – hospitality businesses play an essential role as local community hubs, particularly supporting people’s wellbeing following 24-months of lockdowns and restrictions.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Pre-Covid, our sector created £130bn in economic activity and generated £39bn of tax for the Exchequer to fund vital services. The industry made up 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP. We’re confident that, with the right support measures in place, hospitality businesses will bounce back stronger, and deliver growth and investment across the UK once more.”
Polling day will see local elections, a combined authority mayoral election in South Yorkshire and local authority mayoral elections in England; council elections in Scotland; local elections in Wales; and Northern Ireland Assembly elections.
UKHospitality’s manifesto provides local authority leaders, elected representatives and officers of local and regional authorities with ideas to nurture regeneration, growth and vibrancy on urban, suburban and rural high streets alike, supporting local communities in their efforts to level up.
It outlines 12 key measures to support hospitality’s contribution to local economies and communities:
• actively promote hospitality jobs and skills through local authority channels, including careers advice and information campaigns
• direct employers and jobseekers to Springboard for schools, colleges, and employer networks – and promote the school’s ambassador network
• tighter regulations on Short Term Lets (STLs) to ensure local people can access housing and work in their area
PROMOTION OF PLACE
• take a permissive approach to planning applications to support business growth with a rapid, streamlined response
• include a commitment to support hospitality businesses within local licensing and planning policies, such as a permanent extension of pavement and takeaway licensing
• deliver a more efficient, low-cost public transport system that supports business and resident needs
• provide discretionary business rates relief to businesses struggling post-pandemic
• simplification of any future biodiversity net gain regulations
• establish high street business fora at local level to input into local development plans
• support the roll out of Electric Vehicle charging points at hospitality businesses
• provide support for businesses on the food waste collection system by streamlining and simplifying the process
• work collaboratively with business and key stakeholders to avoid imposing excessive regulations such as late-night levies and Early Morning Alcohol Restriction Orders (EMROs).
To view the full manifesto, please visit: https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/LocalElections