The Menu for Change manifesto, which was released yesterday (19 November), calls on all UK political parties to acknowledge the vital role of hospitality and tourism in the global and local economy, and the potential the industry holds as a generator of future jobs.
UKHospitality says it believes the industry can grow its output by 5.5% over the next three years; increase employment ‘by half a million’ within a decade; and establish 30,000 new apprenticeships by 2025.
“Hospitality businesses are integral to almost every community in the UK,” says UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls.
“Pubs, restaurants, cafes, hotels, nightclubs and more are features of villages, towns and city centres in every region. These businesses provide jobs and they provide investment. They are also at the centre of our social lives: these are the places we spend our leisure time with our family and friends.
“The sector employs over 3.2 million people and generates over £130bn in turnover every year. We are the third largest private sector employer in the country. Hospitality is crucial to tourism, high streets, seaside towns and communities. We underpin investment and regeneration and we help attract inward investment and export earnings.
“We can do so much more, though, if we are given the right kind of support from the government. Our ambition is to grow hospitality output by 5.5% over the next three years, which would outstrip the high street and the economy.”
Three key asks featured in the manifesto are to reform the business rates system to reflect the modern digital economy; boost skills and opportunities by removing the lowest paid from tax, doubling employer national insurance contribution thresholds, and investing in training; and bring communities together by delivering on the Tourism Sector deal, and supporting Tourism Enterprise Zones.
As Britain prepares to leave the European Union next year, UKHospitality also asks the incoming government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and ensure the smoothest possible trade with the EU on food and drink.
“Hospitality can provide even more jobs and chances to grow in fantastic, rewarding careers in an industry that provides opportunities at every skill level regardless of background, qualifications or skill level,” adds Nicholls.
“We have a chance to do so if the future government listens to what we need and acts positively to support a sector that makes a difference everywhere it flourishes.”
The UK general election is set to take place on 12 December.
A copy of the manifesto can be found here.