A ten-year phased approach to reducing immigration from the EU, to allow time for the recruitment of UK workers, is a key plank of a ‘manifesto’ sent to the major political parties by the British Hospitality Association, the leading tourism trade body.
The BHA, representing the UK’s fourth largest industry employing more than 4.5 million people, calls on all parties to make hospitality and tourism a strategic priority – as have many other governments around the world.
It asks that immigration targets be evidence-based and cites a recent report from KPMG which concluded that at least an extra 60,000 EU workers were required each year to keep just the hospitality business going and growing.
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:
“We recognise that immigration policy needs to change but we need time to find and recruit UK workers. We have already sent the Government our ten year plan for this to happen and are keen to help the next administration to reposition our industry as a great place to work and use every opportunity to support the sector.”
26 June 2017
Today it was announced that as part of the Conservative-DUP deal, a detailed consultative report will be commissioned into the impact of Tourism VAT on Northern Ireland.
Across Europe 33 countries have a reduced rate of VAT on tourism. The UK has a Tourism VAT rate three times that of Germany or Greece, and twice that of Spain, France and Italy.
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA, said:
"The UK Government has recognised the need to examine how Northern Ireland’s businesses are impacted by the UK’s high rates of Tourism VAT. Reducing Tourism VAT across the UK is a key pillar of the BHA’s recommendations to government to support the UK’s fourth largest industry and we look forward to working with the Treasury and leading the industry’s representations to this detailed report.
"The UK’s Tourism VAT rate at 20% is double the European average. Northern Ireland’s hospitality and tourism businesses risk losing customers to the Republic of Ireland where Tourism VAT is 9%.
"We have been calling for a reduction in UK rate of Tourism VAT to 5% to create 121,000 jobs, increase UK export earnings from tourism and bring in £4.6bn to the Treasury over 10 years."
EU citizens in the UK
Today, the Government published a paper setting out its offer for EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU. A fact sheet which sets out the key points can be found here. For the full document please see here.
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA, said: “The Prime Minister’s offer of ‘settled status’ will be a relief to the hundreds of thousands of eligible Europeans working in the hospitality and tourism industry. The BHA recently presented a plan to the government outlining how the industry would recruit more UK workers and to reduce reliance on European workers but with UK unemployment so low we will still need to recruit some EU nationals in the future. It is imperative that the government develops an evidence-based approach as the hospitality and tourism industry needs at least an extra 60,000 EU workers each year to keep businesses going and growing.”
21 June 2017
In a pared-back Queen’s Speech on 21 June, Theresa May’s Government set out its legislative agenda for the next two years.
The speech focused on Britain’s future outside the European Union with a focus on industries such as agriculture and fishing, along with the Great Repeal Bill and an Immigration Bill. A Travel Protection Bill will be introduced to protect holidaymakers by updating the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays.
The speech opened with a promise to work with business to build consensus on Britain’s future outside the EU.
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA, said: “The hospitality and tourism industry, the fourth largest in the UK, looks forward to working with Ministers to build the widest consensus on Britain’s future outside the EU. The Government is already aware of the industry’s vital need to have continuing access, in the short term, to the EU labour market while we encourage more UK workers to take up a career in hospitality and tourism.
"We have also made clear that the National Living Wage should be decided by the Low Pay Commission after 2020.
"The trade bills announced to help British businesses export to markets around the world should also consider that tourism is the UK’s sixth largest export. With this in mind it is essential that the immigration system encourages, rather than deters tourism to the UK and allows visa-free access for Europeans.”
15 June 2017
Appointment of John Glen MP as Parliamentary under Secretary of State for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism
The British Hospitality Association welcomes the appointment of John Glen MP for Salisbury and South Wilshire as Parliamentary under Secretary of State for the Arts, Heritage and Tourism.
He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Philip Hammond from July 2016 until June 2017 and previously worked for Eric Pickles and Sajid Javid.
His ministerial responsibilities include:
- Public libraries
- National Archives
Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the BHA said: “We wish Tracey Crouch, who has been a firm friend to our industry, good luck in her new role. We look forward to working with the new Minister to ensure the UK’s fourth largest industry continues to thrive.”
12 June 2017
Impact for industry
The election results ushers in further uncertainty for the industry. The BHA has asked its leading political advisers for their view on the outlook of the Government in the weeks and months ahead, you can read that assessment here.
09 June 2017
A hung parliament, what happens now?
This morning a hung parliament was announced. With 326 seats to win, the Conservatives fell short by having won just 318 seats. Labour won 261, SNP 35, Liberal Democrats 12 and 23 seats went to a variety of other parties.
Subsequently the Prime Minister has announced she is going to form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Commenting on the General Election result, Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, said:
“The General Election result means that we will be faced with the reality of greater and continued political uncertainty in the short term and that is bad for the economy and business. This is the last thing the hospitality and tourism industry needs as we already face a ‘perfect storm’ of issues but the BHA will work with whatever government emerges to see a return to stability and certainty so that we can get on with creating jobs and growth in the economy.”