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General Election 2017: Hospitality warns result is ‘bad for business’

By Hannah Thompson , 09-Jun-2017
Last updated on 12-Jun-2017 at 12:43 GMT2017-06-12T12:43:57Z

General Election 2017: Hospitality warns result is ‘bad for business’

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Association for Multiple Licensed Retailers (AMLR) have warned of uncertainty and called for stability in the wake of today’s General Election result.

After calling the snap election just weeks ago, Prime Minister Theresa May of the Conservative Party has this morning lost her majority in the House of Commons, resulting in a ‘hung’ parliament – where no one party has a majority.

“The general election result means that we will be faced with the reality of greater and continued political uncertainty in the short term and that is bad for the economy and business,” says Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA.

“This is the last thing the hospitality and tourism industry needs as we already face a ‘perfect storm’ of issues.”

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the AMLR, was equally reserved in response to the result, both congratulating “so many of our friends and champions” who have been re-elected, and lamenting the loss of “some true friends of the sector in Parliament”.

“The key short-term impact is that there is a vacuum where businesses need clarity and certainty,” she says.

“It is of paramount importance that any new government is in place swiftly, in order to address the immediate and desperate needs of hospitality businesses trying to operate amid the cost burdens of business rates, the National Living Wage and the many other current pressures on pub and restaurant operators.”

“The complexion of the next Government remains unclear, but as we approach Brexit and a new Government looks to secure a new deal for the UK economy, high street hospitality businesses are going to play a crucial role.

Future cooperation

Both bodies also stressed their willingness to work with the government to increase stability in the sector.

“The BHA will work with whatever government emerges to see a return to stability and certainty so that we can get on with creating jobs and growth in the economy,” says Ibrahim.

“We are ready to provide our support and are looking forward to working alongside the new Government at this incredibly important time,” adds Nicholls.

The BHA claims to represents 46,000 hospitality and tourism business across the UK, while the AMLR states its membership runs to 26,000 outlets and 650,000 employees across the country, including independent operators, and big players All Bar One, Slug & Lettuce, TGI Fridays, Wahaca, and Wagamama.

Ahead of the General Election, we asked BigHospitality readers their main concerns regarding hospitality in the election, with over half saying that the status of EU staff in the sector was one of their top three issues, alongside decisions on wages and tax.  

Although more said they would vote Conservative (46.2%) compared to Labour (33.5%) or Lib Dem (11.3%), many also stated apprehension towards Theresa May and the prospect of a ‘hard Brexit’.