According to Barclays Corporate’s Business in 2021 research, more than three quarters of business leaders across all industries in the UK cited the hospitality and leisure sector as a key driver for fuelling economic growth in their region.
The figure was true across all regions in the UK bar two, London and the South East and the North West, where 57 per cent and 53 per cent expected the sector to fuel growth. Scotland however held the most optimistic view of the sector, with 95 per cent feeling it would help drive growth.
Barclays’ research also found that half (52 per cent) of hospitality and leisure businesses expected to see a steady and sustained growth over the next decade, although 39 per cent expect to see zero or negative growth.
In addition, 81 per cent of companies expect foreign ownership of UK companies to increase over the next ten years, with 52 per cent believing there will be ‘much more’ foreign ownership in the UK.
Mike Saul, head of Hospitality and Leisure at Barclays Corporate, said: “It is clear that the majority of the UK’s hospitality and leisure sector believes in the fundamental strength of the UK as a place to do business, and this underlines the temporary nature of the challenges we are currently experiencing.
“To see the majority of businesses anticipating steady and sustained economic growth over the next decade should also be welcome news for a Government that is focused on developing a growth strategy. The industry sees itself playing an important role in this growth, and clearly the boost from next year’s Olympics, and its ongoing legacy, will play a major part in this.”
The research comes just over a year since Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to ‘stand fully behind every effort’ to support British hospitality and tourism.
Speaking in August 2010, he said: “Tourism is a fiercely competitive market, requiring skills, talent, enterprise, and a Government that backs Britain. It’s fundamental to the rebuilding and rebalancing of our economy.”
However the Government is yet to lend weight to arguments calling for a reduction in VAT for the hospitality industry to 5 per cent, a move that would bring it in line with 21 EU countries that have a lower rate of VAT for the sector, and is expected to create 320,000 jobs.
An official petition calling for a reduced rate of VAT has been lodged with the Government and so far has 1,350 signatures. If it reaches 100,000 the issue will be debated in the House of Commons.
The Business 2021 report, which surveyed 664 businesses in the UK, 54 of which are from the hospitality and leisure sector, will be released on 7 September.