The BHA presents a clear choice for the Government and hospitality industry. Either we are content with the ‘steady as she goes’ approach or we jointly pilot a path for a more ambitious strategy.
Putting the right policies in place offers us all a considerable prize – 300,000 more jobs.
The figures speak for themselves. Hospitality represents over 10% of total employment in more than 20% of parliamentary constituencies. With unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, remaining a massive national challenge for this government, and the one to be formed in 2015, we want all the political parties to study and respond, and set out a positive programme for growth in the sector.
The BHA’s recommendations for government are three-fold:
1. Harness the value of the hospitality and tourism economy
- Hold a regular meeting with the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers alongside senior hospitality and tourism leaders to shape a long term strategy for growth
- Establish a cross-government Ministerial Taskforce
- Set out a clear strategy for regional growth and clarify the role of Local Enterprise Partnerships
- Appoint a DCMS representative to the Regional Growth Fund Ministerial panel and secure hospitality and tourism representation on the Fund’s Advisory Panel
2. Beating our international competition
- Reduce tourism VAT to 5% to improve the UK’s price competitiveness in Europe
- Improve the UK’s visa application procedure so we can compete internationally
- Increase airport capacity
- Appoint the chairman or CEO of VisitBritain to the Board of UKTI as a permanent member
- Review the funding of VisitBritain and ensure that departmental ‘marginal savings’ do not lose employment advantages and higher visitor numbers
- Amend the rules governing the establishment of Real Estate Investment Trusts to encourage hospitality businesses to take advantage of the flexibility they offer
- End the exclusion of hotels from the Enterprise Investment Scheme
3. Some changes are already within reach
- Ministers should continue the active deregulation programme working collaboratively with the Hospitality and Tourism Industry Regulation Taskforce
- Favour a voluntary approach rather than regulation across policy issues such as health, supply chain, government procedure and sustainability
- The Treasury should extend the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme to cover more types of catering equipment