A new strategy to ensure England’s pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues can thrive long-term and adapt to consumer demands has been launched by Business Minister Paul Scully today (16 July).
The UK hospitality sector is comprised of approximately 143,000 businesses, employs around 1.7 million people and in 2019 generated £40.4 billion in Gross Value Added. The Hospitality Strategy focuses on reopening, recovery and resilience of this important sector.
To support the industry in its reopening, the Strategy sets out measures including highlighting opportunities in the hospitality industry to jobseekers through DWP’s dedicated work coaches and helping the sector address current recruitment challenges. This is on top of the continued support for businesses through the government’s unprecedented £352 billion package of economic support and guidance this week to help ease them back to operating normally.
Recovery measures will boost business and consumer confidence and help the sector return to profitability. This includes working with the government-owned British Business Bank and directly with lenders to support access to finance for hospitality firms so they can invest in their businesses.
It will be easier for pubs, restaurants and cafes on the high street to offer al fresco dining and serve more customers outside, with pavement licenses being extended and made permanent. Takeaway pints will also continue for another 12 months as the temporary permissions for off-sales of alcohol are extended in England and Wales, boosting sales.
The government is also setting out ways to help the sector improve its resilience, including by making hospitality a career option of choice, boosting creativity, and developing a greener sector. Measures include:
- exploring options for vocational skills and training that support careers in the sector, including apprenticeships, bootcamps and other qualifications like a T-Level, and working with the sector to raise the profile of careers in hospitality
- supporting innovation and productivity by using the government’s Help to Grow programmes to strengthen the sector’s digital and management skills, and bringing hospitality businesses together with universities and other innovators to support the next generation of hospitality start-ups
- helping the sector reduce emissions, including by cutting waste and single-use plastic consumption
This comes as the £150 million Community Ownership Fund launched yesterday, giving people across the UK the chance to run local pubs at risk of closure as community-owned businesses. Communities in all 4 nations will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding.
Business Minister Paul Scully said:
A new Hospitality Sector Council made up of industry leaders and government is being created to oversee the delivery of the strategy. The council will agree an action plan to deliver the recommendations, review progress against this plan and monitor the overall recovery of the sector as businesses transition from reopening to recovery to resilience. The council will be co-chaired by Business Minister Paul Scully and hospitality entrepreneur Karen Jones and further members will be announced in due course.
Entrepreneur and Hospitality Sector Council co-chair Karen Jones said:
UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said:
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said:
British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) CEO Steven Alton said:
Today’s announcement comes alongside the recent publication of the government’s High Streets Strategy and Tourism Strategy. A thriving hospitality sector supports tourism and high streets and vice-versa – these strategies work together to deliver an even greater impact for businesses and workers.
Among other measures supporting the hospitality sector, the High Streets Strategy includes a commitment to work with local authorities and the sector to develop a model for hospitality-led regeneration hubs across each nation of the UK.
The Hospitality Strategy sets out a vision for the future of the sector, building on the unprecedented £352 billion package of support available throughout the pandemic. In addition to having access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, loan guarantees and protection from commercial rent eviction and debt forfeitures, hospitality businesses also had access to further support including grants, business rates relief, a VAT cut on food and non-alcoholic beverages to 5% and the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.
Last month, the government extended its measures protecting commercial tenants from eviction to March 2022 and announced that legislation will be introduced to help resolve commercial rent debts resulting from COVID-19 business closures.