Minister for Hospitality petitioners call for PM meeting

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Minister for Hospitality petitioners call for meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Related tags: Minister for Hospitality, Government

Petitioners calling for the Government to create a Minister for Hospitality have asked for an audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss the matter further.

Last Thursday (11 February) the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully, met with 'Seat at the Table' campaign representatives Robin Hutson, Angela Hartnett and Claire Bosi of Chef & Restaurant Magazine to discuss the petition​, which was signed by more than 208,000 people and discussed by MPs during a Westminster Hall debate last month​.

"We met with Minister Paul Scully (who has restaurants and pubs within his remit), together with some of his team," Hutson told The Telegraph​. 

"We had a good exchange about the need for greater representation within Government.

"Minister Scully and his team were listening and there is certainly an intention to support the sector on an ongoing basis and there was agreement about raising the importance of the sector; they have offered to meet us again.

"Of course, the appointment of ministers rests solely with the Prime Minister; we have asked if he would grant us an audience personally."

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.

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 sectoras a result of the Coronavirus crisis.

Labour MP and Chair of the Petitions Committee Catherine McKinnell led the debate, and 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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