Hospitality industry champions the high street

Hospitality industry champions the high street

Hospitality businesses from across the UK will today assemble at Westminster to meet with over 60 MPs to champion their sector’s contribution to the high street.

The businesses, of which there are 150, are backed by UKHospitality and the launch of its AIM HIGH campaign. The campaign is calling for a digital sales tax to help ease the impacts of business rates increases; doubling the National Insurance Contribution threshold for employers; a level-playing field for property and online businesses regulation; and delivering a Brexit that allows the industry to meet its workforce needs without extra costs.

Ahead of BITES Live, the first industry conference to focus on the high street, today’s meeting reminds the government that the hospitality industry employs 3.2m people across the UK and contributes £130bn to the UK economy – more than automotive, pharma and aeronautics combined. It ranks as a top seven employer in every region of the UK, ranking the third highest in some regions and accounts for up to 11% of the regional workforce.

New research by Ignite Economics, also launched today, has predicted that the sector’s workforce and contribution to the economy could begin to drop by 2022. The report notes that recent cost pressures such as minimum wage increases, business rates, and a reduction in the supply of labour has started to take its toll on the industry.

In the least optimistic scenario, the report suggests that there could be 312,000 less people directly employed in the sector compared to 3.2m in 2017, with the economic contribution the sector makes also starting to fall from its current level of £79bn. The report also notes that with the right government support, employment could grow by 66,000 to reach an employment workforce for 3.5m and an economic contribution of £89bn in the next four years.