Hospitality calls on Labour to deliver manifesto commitments following historic landslide

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Credit: Getty / Luis Davilla
Credit: Getty / Luis Davilla

Related tags Labour Labour government Government General election Business rates

Hospitality leaders have said Labour must deliver on its manifesto commitments to replace business rates and reform the Apprenticeship Levy following the party’s landslide victory in the general election.

Sir Keir Starmer will become the UK’s new Prime Minister today (5 July) after Labour won more than 400 seats in the national poll, with Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives reduced to just 120 MPs.

In its manifesto, the Labour Party committed to replacing the business rates system in England​ and level the playing field between high street businesses and online giants.

It has also promised to reform the Apprenticeship Levy by creating a Growth and Skills Levy.

Reacting to the election result, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls promised to work with the new Government to deliver its manifesto commitments and ‘realise hospitality’s growth ambitions’.

“Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Sir Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on its victory in the General Election,” she said.

“We look forward to working with the new Labour Government, which during the campaign has clearly recognised hospitality’s role serving Britain and creating places where people want to live, work and invest.

“We now need to see this followed up with action in the first 100 days. Delivering on manifesto commitments to replace business rates and reform the Apprenticeship Levy would be a clear sign that the Government backs hospitality as the central pillar of the everyday economy.

“Swiftly addressing business rates would fulfil a longstanding ask of the sector and avoid a cliff-edge in April, when current relief is set to end and rates are due to increase again.

“Hospitality, with its presence in every constituency, can act as a powerhouse for driving economic growth, creating new jobs and regenerating our towns and cities.”

‘Change is here’

Across the sector, trade bodies and industry voices have welcomed Labour’s victory, with Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and Labour member, saying that ‘change is here’.

“The challenges our hospitality industry face are stark and while we can’t expect overnight change, this vote should give our sector a confidence boost,” he said.

“But there is a lot to do, not only in hospitality, but for business owners and hard-working employees across the country.

"I will be hoping to see a greater level of support for the industry over the coming months and as an industry we should continue to hold those in power to account.

“I will personally continue to press hard and keep campaigning to ease of the financial burdens placed on operators, not just here in Manchester, but across the UK.”

Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), described Labour’s plans to introduce new right-to-buy powers for communities to buy and revamp local assets, such as pubs, as ‘heartening’ and said he hopes they will be implemented as soon as possible.

He added that he hoped the new Government would recognise ‘the need for independent producers to have better access to the pub market’.

“In the run up to the election, we heard Sir Keir Starmer and [Chancellor] Rachel Reeves recognise the importance of beer duty to the trade,” Antona continued.

“CAMRA will continue to fight for fairer tax with an increase in the differential between draught and off-trade duty rates, and a VAT reduction on beer and cider sold in the on-trade so consumers can continue to receive all the social and wellbeing benefits pubs offer.

“In England, CAMRA hopes the Government will improve planning protection and enforcement to protect pubs and social clubs facing unfair demolition, and to order pubs to be built brick by brick if necessary.

“CAMRA has long called for business rates to be completely reformed in order for pubs to avoid unfair overpayments. It's great to see that Labour is committed to changing the outdated business rates system to make it fairer between online enterprises and bricks and mortar businesses like pubs.”

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