UK government votes in favour of hospitality minister

12th January, 2021 by Melita Kiely

MPs have voted in favour of creating a minister of hospitality in the UK following a 90-minute debate in Westminster yesterday (11 January).

London outdoor campaign

London empty: bars in the UK remain closed because of lockdown measures to control the spread of Covid-19

The notion was debated by the UK government after an online petition secured more than 200,000 signatures.

The vote in support of a minister of hospitality does not guarantee the role will be created. However, the hospitality industry welcomed the government’s recognition of the sector’s importance and hopes the debate will pressure prime minister Boris Johnson to seriously consider the proposal.

Trade body UK Hospitality welcomed the debate and concluding decision.

Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality chief executive, said: “It was incredibly positive to hear so many MPs being vocal advocates of the hospitality sector. There was unanimous recognition of our importance economically and socially. It was particularly pleasing to hear parts of the sector like nightclubs, wedding venues and conference centres being lauded – businesses that have not grabbed headlines in the way that other sectors have, but are no less important, as the debate recognised. There was also welcome recognition for our critical supply chain.

“It is striking that, in the end, the petition got more than 200,000 signatures. We all understand the importance of what we do and it is good to see the government recognise the importance of working closely with the sector to ensure that we are properly supported, not just during this crisis but more generally.”

Nicholls also commented on the “highly encouraging” comments made during the debate regarding an extension of the VAT cut and the business rates holiday.

“There was a clear and highly encouraging demonstration of strong cross-party support for an extension of the VAT cut and the business rates holiday,” Nicholls added. “These are going to be crucial if we hope to see businesses survive the year.

“Announcing an extension of both of these policies, at the earliest possible opportunity, will provide some much-needed stability for our sector and allow businesses to begin planning.

“Equally clear is that a great many MPs recognise that this additional support will be necessary if the sector is to survive and lead the national revival.”

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