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Prince Charles tells on-trade ‘we need you badly’

The Prince of Wales recorded a message of support for the UK hospitality industry, stressing the “invaluable service” the sector provides and that “we need you all badly” following months of on-trade closures.

Prince Charles visiting the Moorland Spirit Company in 2018

Prince Charles delivered his support for the hospitality industry, paying tribute to the “immense contribution” the sector makes to the UK, both economically and socially.

His speech was delivered during the Master Innholders’ Hoteliers – Battered but not Beaten event yesterday (18 March).

The discussion explored the future of hospitality careers with the secretary of state for education, Gavin Williamson CBE MP, and Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UK Hospitality.

The Prince of Wales said: “The British hospitality industry is one of this country’s greatest success stories and one which, I fear, we may have taken somewhat for granted. As often seems to happen, it is when something we treasure is endangered that we appreciate it most.

“As I’m sure you will agree, any deprivation does rather sharpen the appetite. This is why, I believe, that over the past months of the pandemic, we have all come to appreciate the invaluable service provided by your profession, whether it is hosting celebrations, family meals of gatherings of friends, or welcoming in the weary traveller or the wide-eyed tourist, the job you all do is essential to the enjoyment of life.

“Across the country, from Caithness to Cornwall, and of course in London, hotels, restaurants and pubs are at the heart of our communities.”

‘We need you all badly’

The Prince of Wales continued to highlight the huge economic contribution made by the hospitality sector in the UK.

It follows warnings from UK Hospitality in February that two-thirds of hospitality venues do not have enough money to last until May without substantial government support.

In the UK budget, delivered earlier this month, chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged grants of up to £18,000 (US$25,118) for hospitality businesses.

The Prince of Wales continued: “However, it is not merely by nourishing the body and the spirit that you contribute to our collective wellbeing, the hospitality sector makes an immense contribution to the wealth and welfare of our economy. It is the country’s third-largest employer, providing work for 3.2 million people directly and a further 2.8m indirectly – that is 9% of the United Kingdom’s jobs.

“Hospitality contributes over £39 billion [US$54bn] in direct gross taxes and accounts for over £24bn [US$33bn] in expenditure by tourists.

“Your industry also provides the setting and the sustenance for business activities in other sectors of the economy too, making this country such a desirable place to live and to do business, thereby benefiting us all.

“The last 12 months may well have battered us all, but this time will pass and when it does we know exactly to whom we should turn to help us celebrate.

“The point is that we need you all badly, so I can only send my warmest possible greetings to each and every one of you.”

Click the video below to listen to the speech in full.

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