What does a 2017 general election mean for hospitality?

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

UK general election 2017 impact hospitality industry

Related tags: United kingdom

The hospitality industry has welcomed the announcement of a general election on 8 June as a chance to challenge politicians on the issues facing restaurants, hotels and pubs.

Prime Minister Theresa May made the surprise statement calling for a vote on Tuesday, claiming it was the only way to secure ‘certainty’ as the UK prepares to exit the EU.

Concerns around Brexit are expected to take centre-stage and hospitality trade bodies are preparing to highlight issues such as rising food and drink prices​ and the potential skills shortage facing restaurants, pubs and cafes​ after Brexit. 

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has warned that food and drink businesses could be left with a shortfall of one million workers​ within 10 years if migration is restricted after the UK leaves the EU.

"We look forward to hearing from all parties how they propose to handle the transition to a more home grown workforce," said BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim.

"As the industry is facing a perfect storm in terms of the costs of operating – such a high Tourism VAT and Business Rate increases – we look forward to supporting all BHA members engage their local election candidates to secure broad cross-party support on these issues in the next Parliament.”

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) said the election was a chance for hospitality to make its voice heard.

“Whatever the outcome, we need a Government that takes decisive action to tackle rising costs for eating and drinking out businesses and provides clarity on Brexit,” said ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls.

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said the industry needed to ‘continue to attract those with the right skills’ and maintain free trade with its neighbours.

“Brexit also presents an opportunity to encourage the new Government towards a more favourable tax regime, especially for beer duty,” said BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds.

“We will not hesitate to use the election to highlight both the challenges and the opportunities for brewing and pubs.”

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act May cannot call an election directly, but will put it to a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday. Two-thirds of MPs must back the motion or the election will not go ahead.

The hospitality industry welcomed the Conservative majority​in the 2015 general election following fears that a hung parliament could create ‘uncertainty’ for businesses.

But the majority of the sector appeared to be against Brexit, with three quarters of hospitality CEO’s backing the Remain campaign​ ahead of the vote.

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