Government agrees to meeting with Minister for Hospitality petitioners

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Government agrees to meeting with Minister for Hospitality petitioners

Related tags: Minister for Hospitality, Government

The Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully, will meet with petitioners calling for a Minister for Hospitality.

The meeting was agreed after Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month​ and urged him to engage with the hospitality sector.

Johnson previously shrugged off​ an invitation to meet those from the industry who are campaigning for the creation of a Hospitality Minister during a Liaison Committee session.

Petitioners including Claire Bosi, editor of trade publication Chef & Restaurant Magazine, will discuss their petition​ 'Create a Minister for Hospitality in the UK Government', which was signed by more than 208,000 people and discussed by MPs during a Westminster Hall debate​ last month.

“Whilst I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to agree to our call for the Government to meet with petitioners and hear their concerns about the need for greater support for the hospitality sector, I hope that the Prime Minister himself will consider their request that he creates a Minister for Hospitality to oversee Government delivery for this crucial diverse sector," says McKinnell.

“Although the Government has provided a range of support to the hospitality industry throughout this pandemic, there are still great challenges ahead and a coordinated approach on this issue is vital at this critical time.

“The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, and remains vulnerable.

"Thousands of businesses are struggling and unclear about what lies ahead in the coming months, it is essential there is a focused voice within Government to represent the hospitality sector to ensure its place as a key driver of economic and cultural growth in every community.”

Last month's Minister for Hospitality debate saw MPs from both sides of the aisle find common ground over the financial hardships currently facing the sector​​ as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.

McKinnell, who led the debate, called on the Government to recognise that the sector needs a strong voice in Government that recognises the diversity within the industry.

At the moment responsibility for hospitality matters are shared between two different ministerial portfolios (Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and Digital, Culture, Media & Sport), and while McKinnell said she understood the practise, she also believes it to be out of fashion at the moment given the crisis facing the sector and fears it creates an incentive in Government for passing the buck between departments.

She said: “I’ve long held the view that the hospitality sector requires really focused representation in Government.

"This is about the future of our industry and the campaign and petition showcases the strength of feeling across the country on this issue.

"Hospitality is a sector that deserves a seat at the top table.”

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