Top chefs are campaigning to introduce a Minister for Hospitality in the UK following the devasting consequences the impact of Coronavirus has had on businesses such as bars, hotels and restaurants in recent months.
Big names backing the move include chefs Marcus Wareing, Angela Hartnett and Paul Ainsworth who are all concerned over the future of their industry. At the time of writing the official petition page - which is intended to provoke a government response - has nearly 18000 signatures, with a final goal of 100,000 people backing it. The crucial 100,000 figure means the petition will be considered for debate at parliament, gaining significant coverage and scrutiny from those who could put the request into motion.
The appeal lists a few reasons for the push, saying that the UK hospitality industry is responsible for around 3m jobs, generates £130bn in activity, and results in £38bn in taxation. However, despite all this, the organisers point out that “unlike the Arts or Sports, we [hospitality professionals] do not have a dedicated Minister.”
Being clear on the objective, the intro continues, saying, “We are asking that a Minister for Hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments. A dedicated Minister would liaise with industry representatives. We believe such a Minister would have been beneficial to Government & Industry during the pandemic.
“As the UK seeks to encourage investment & tourism back to the UK in coming years, the vision that UK hospitality industry portrays of the UK is excellence, innovation, inspiration. We need a Minister who can listen to concerns on taxation & legislation and bring forward suggestions to the chancellor and policy makers on our behalf.”
Photo by Chris Hewitt Photography
At the forefront of the appeal is organiser and editor of Chef & Restaurant Magazine, Claire Bosi. Speaking to the BBC she said: “Policy has been made and unmade without consulting those that are impacted most… As such a vital part of both the country’s economy and reputation, it seems fair that we are given a representative voice in Parliament”.
Since the campaign’s inception, further hospitality restrictions have been put in place, including lockdowns across Scotland where pubs and restaurants have been forced to close once more. Many in the industry will be feeling growing concern over the furlough scheme coming to an end in October, despite the government’s recent announcement that there will be additional support put in place for business forced to remain closed. The reality is that without further funding the industry will be facing mass redundancies across the board come November.
It is hoped that the introduction of a Minister for Hospitality would contribute a voice for hospitality professionals in parliament when there are debates across topics such as taxation and legislation.
Like to keep on top of the latest news? Here's why bars in parliament aren't subject to the 10pm curfew