Chancellor George Osborne and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls are at Facebook HQ for a quizzing by business people, entrepreneurs and apprentices today. And it’s all being aired live by Sky News. Anything could happen…
The BHA has exclusive access and is bringing along four of our fantastically supportive members to ask the important questions that the hospitality and tourism community want to know.
Adam Fox-Edwards of the Arundell Arms Hotel
Serena von der Heyde of the Georgian House Hotel
Daniel Pedreschi of the Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge
Soren Jessen, Jessen and Co Restaurants
Connecting members to the media and government
Creating connections and providing visibility for hospitality and tourism businesses is at the core the BHA’s work on behalf of its members.
In the firing line
Daniel’s question: The hospitality and tourism industry has done more than any other industry to generate new jobs and boost skills. And our industry is now the UK’s biggest employer of young people. So how can the government get behind the success of our industries achievements and support more industry initiatives that get young people into employment like the Big Hospitality Conversation?
Serena’s question: The so called sharing economy - when will companies like Airbnb share the burdens of business rates, costs, employment responsibilities and legislation e.g. fire and gas safety. ‘bricks and mortar' accommodation businesses have to cover this but these giant global corporates do not.
Adam’s question: Our hotel, the Arundell Arms, has been owned and run by my family since 1961. Over those 50 years we’ve had both good and bad economic periods, but in an increasingly competitive international market it’s never been more challenging. The Government speaks about bringing back balanced and sustainable growth across the UK; about reducing the trade deficit, but when it comes to tourism – currently our fifth largest export - it is content to allow tourism businesses in Europe to have the upper hand. The fact is that 25 of the other 27 EU states reduce VAT for tourism because they know it boosts exports, increases tax revenue, creates jobs and make more affordable holidays for British families. The value of tourism cannot be taken for granted, especially outside of London. When will this Government see sense and reduce Tourism VAT?
What would either party do as the new Government to encourage small businesses to employ young people earlier for apprenticeships and train them up?
How are you going to solve the structural problem in the British economy that more people are working in the public sector than in the private sector? More people are being paid out of the public purse than contributing.
Small and medium sized businesses are where job creation can really make a difference to the economy. What are you planning to do to support entrepreneurs who start new businesses?
Commercial rents for small businesses, especially in London are getting out of control. They’ve doubled in the last three years. On top of this, there is a chronic shortage of affordable sites for start-ups and growing brands seeking premises and we can’t compete with the big chains. London is the world’s greatest city for eating out and we're doing well, but individuality and diversity will suffer just like in every other UK high street unless something can be done.
Apprenticeships - there was a time when apprenticeships were valued as much as higher education. I was an apprentice in a shipping company and became exec director at goldman Sachs and then I started my own business. Do you believe in the value of apprenticeships as an alternative to higher education and if so what will you do to encourage employers to sponsor them.
Structural Problem - more people are getting paid out of the public purse than paying into it. How are you going solve this structural problem. Public sector versus private sector.
Private Sector Job Creation - the biggest potential for job creation comes from small to medium sized businesses. What will you do to support young entrepreneurs start new businesses.