UKHospitality Unveils Election Toolkit to Shape Policy and Aid Venues Amid Parliament Shifts

by | Jun 12, 2024

As the United Kingdom braces for a transformative election with a significant influx of new faces expected in Parliament, UKHospitality has unveiled an election toolkit designed to bridge the gap between the hospitality sector and prospective parliamentary candidates. This proactive strategy aims to ensure the voices of hospitality businesses are not merely heard but actively championed by future policymakers.

UKHospitality, the leading trade body representing the UK’s dynamic hospitality sector, is spearheading this initiative to forge stronger connections between hospitality venues and parliamentary candidates. This comes at a critical juncture, with numerous MPs anticipated to step down, paving the way for a considerable number of new legislators in the next parliament.

“We want as many political candidates to visit hospitality venues across the country as possible,” announced UKHospitality. “This relationship starts with you and your business.” The election toolkit is designed to empower hospitality operators to extend invitations to candidates, equipping them with a template letter complete with contact details for local candidates. Central to the toolkit is an interactive map that provides an illuminating view of the economic impact of hospitality in each parliamentary constituency. This visual tool highlights not only the number of on-trade venues but also the employment levels sustained by the sector. This data-rich map serves as a compelling narrative of the sector’s significance, making a strong case for its critical role in local economies.

In tandem with the toolkit, UKHospitality has dispatched letters to all parliamentary candidates, spotlighting key policy areas in dire need of attention. These areas include VAT reform, a longstanding issue for the sector, business rates, employment and staffing costs, and planning law. Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, underscored the importance of these measures. “Our sector is facing unprecedented challenges. From the burden of high business rates to the complexities of employment laws, we need policymakers to understand and address these issues,” she explained.

Polling data indicates a potential seismic shift in the political landscape, with numerous MPs planning to step down. “We anticipate a record number of new MPs in the newly formed parliament on 5 July,” UKHospitality noted. This scenario presents both a challenge and an opportunity for the hospitality sector to ensure its concerns are not only acknowledged but actively championed. The toolkit strives to ensure that new MPs are well-informed and supportive of the hospitality sector. “We need these new MPs to be the hospitality sector’s champions,” the organization emphasized.

James Brown, owner of a thriving pub in North London, shared his enthusiasm for the initiative. “This is a fantastic initiative. We often feel like our concerns are overlooked. Having MPs visit our venues can provide them with firsthand experience of the issues we face,” he said. Sarah Williams, manager of a small chain of restaurants in Manchester, echoed this sentiment, particularly praising the interactive map. “It’s a powerful tool. Seeing the economic impact laid out in such a clear way can really drive home the importance of our sector to local candidates,” she remarked.

The rollout of this election toolkit by UKHospitality is timely, as the sector grapples with an array of challenges. Persistent issues such as VAT, business rates, and employment costs have long been problematic. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these challenges, leading to widespread closures and financial strain across the industry. The toolkit’s focus on direct engagement with parliamentary candidates represents a strategic pivot. By facilitating face-to-face interactions, the hospitality sector can humanize its narrative, making it more compelling for policymakers. This approach aligns with broader lobbying strategies where personal stories and direct engagement often yield more substantial results.

As the next parliament takes shape, the composition of its members will be crucial for the hospitality sector. With a record number of new MPs anticipated, there is a unique window of opportunity to influence the policy landscape in favor of the sector. UKHospitality’s proactive approach could pave the way for more favorable legislation concerning VAT reform, business rates, and employment laws. However, the success of this initiative hinges on several factors. The willingness of candidates to engage, the efficacy of the toolkit in facilitating meaningful interactions, and the sector’s ability to present a united front will all be pivotal.

In essence, UKHospitality’s election toolkit is a timely and strategic initiative aimed at securing the future of the hospitality sector. By fostering direct engagement with prospective MPs, the sector hopes to ensure that its concerns are not merely heard but addressed in the next parliament. This initiative underscores the vital role that the hospitality industry plays in the UK economy and aims to secure a supportive legislative environment for its continued growth and resilience.