MPs speak in favour of creating Minister of Hospitality
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MPs speak in favour of creating Minister of Hospitality

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A seat at the table and a strong voice for the hospitality industry would be in the Government’s interest
– Catherine McKinnell
Credit: UKParliament

UK MPs have spoken in favour of backing the creation of a Minister of Hospitality, following a debate at

Westminster Hall yesterday (11 January).

The topic was discussed after a petition which proposed the motion began circulating in October 2020 – it has now gathered over 207,000 signatures.

The hospitality sector, including spas, leisure centres and gyms, contributes nearly £130bn annually to the UK economy, but the pandemic has confronted it with enforced closures and a significant drop in business and revenue.

Pressure has since been mounting on the government for support and decisive action to avoid the COVID-19 crisis totally crippling the industry.

The 90-minute debate saw the minister for small business, consumers and labour markets, Paul Scully, represent the government and defend its support of the industry thus far.

However, he stated the government “will continue to work with hospitality businesses to keep them going and build them back better” and said he appreciated the anguish the sector is currently facing.

MPs attending the debate pushed back, with Lucy Powell accusing the government of failing to take decisive action for the sector and adopting a “sticking-plaster solution” for an ongoing problem which requires concentrated attention and a defined ministerial position.

“Only one in five hospitality businesses have enough money to survive until March,” she added.

MP and chair of the Petitions Committee Catherine McKinnell agreed, saying it was time the government let hospitality have focused representation, not least because it is a major tax generator.

“The government should want to get this right and want the maximum possible engagement with the hospitality industry,” she said, “and a seat at the table and a strong voice for the hospitality industry would be in the Government’s interest.”

The debate clearly highlighted the struggle the sector is facing and ended with MPs from both parties unanimously supporting the motion, but, this doesn’t have a binding effect.

Instead, the decision will apply further pressure to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government to consider the motion and the state of the hospitality sector more seriously.

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UK MPs have spoken in favour of backing the creation of a Minister of Hospitality, following a debate at Westminster Hall yesterday (11 January).
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