The British Hospitality Association has set out new recommendations for the UK Government.
Hospitality and tourism is an economic contest between nations. Whilst global hospitality and tourism numbers are forecast to increase, the countries which benefit most from this growth will be those who have a clear strategy for growth and leadership from the top of Government.
Hospitality and tourism has continued to be omitted from the UK Government’s economic growth policy.
- Maintain the freest possible trade in goods and services between the UK and the EU.
- Immediate priority to confirm the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK following Brexit.
- Ensure that the new Immigration system takes account of the needs of industries which have become reliant on service workers from the EU and puts in place a sensible, 10-year phased approach to allow time for the recruitment of UK workers wherever this is possible.
- Ensure that the UK has an evidence-based approach to the setting of ‘immigration quotas’ post Brexit, ideally enlarge the role of the Migration Advisory Service.
- Seek as a matter of urgency protection of visa-less travel from the EU.
National Living Wage
- Commit to the National Living Wage being set by the Low Pay Commission to focus on the 60% median earnings level and move away from a £9 headline figure.
- To alleviate the impact of the National Living Wage extend the relief on employers’ NICs contributions for under-21s to all workers under the age of 25.
- Commit to a fundamental review of business rates and relief before the next revaluation.
- Follow the Scottish Government’s lead and cap business rates for hospitality and tourism businesses in both England and Wales to 12.5%.
OTA’s and sharing platforms
- Deliver a fair digital marketplace by banning rate parity clauses to stop Online Travel Agents (OTAs) from distorting the market, and ensure the criteria used by websites to rank and rate accommodation is transparent to allow consumers to search for the best holiday deals.
- Make sure regulations can be properly enforced by relevant authorities in sharing economy accommodation, such a fire safety, and that the tax paid reflects their rapidly growing size in the marketplace.
- Reduce Tourism VAT on accommodation and attractions to 5% to allow the United Kingdom to compete on an even playing-field against rival destinations in Europe.
- Improve tourist visa processes for important and fast-growing markets, such as China and India, and put in place less expensive and more straightforward visa application procedures.
- Deliver a comprehensive coastal tourism strategy which to attract the investment which our coastal communities need to reach their full economic and social potential.
- Implement the BHA Creating Coastal Powerhouse 7-Point Coastal Action Plan.
- Facilitate airport expansion in South East England without delay and ensure strong regional air routes so that the United Kingdom can continue to be one of the best-connected countries in the world for tourists and business visitors alike.
Tipping and Service Charges
- Implement the recommendation of the BHA for the Code of Practice on Tipping and Service Charges to be placed on a statutory footing to increase public confidence.
- Introduce an effective appeals process to support the ‘Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ in England.