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​Election Insights for Hospitality: What Each Party Offers

​Election Insights for Hospitality: What Each Party Offers

Posted by Emma on 20th Jun 2024

As the general election approaches, hospitality professionals must understand how each party's manifesto could impact their industry. Here's a breakdown of what the main political parties are promising for the hospitality sector, from VAT changes to business rates and more.


Conservatives: Aim to create 100,000 more apprenticeships in England annually by the end of the next Parliament.

Labour: Propose reforming the apprenticeship levy to offer more flexible courses through Skills England.

Liberal Democrats: Want to replace the apprenticeship levy with a broader skills and training levy.

Plaid Cymru: Suggest identifying sectors needing more apprentices and offering an apprenticeship living wage, free travel, and meals.

Reform: Plan to increase technical courses and apprenticeships in IT, engineering, construction, and agriculture.

Business Rates

Conservatives: Plan to ease business rates for high street, leisure, and hospitality businesses by adjusting the multiplier on distribution warehouses.

Labour: Want to replace the current business rates system with a fairer revenue-raising method.

Liberal Democrats: Aim to abolish business rates and introduce a Commercial Landowner Levy.

Greens: Propose giving local authorities the power to exempt essential local enterprises from business rates.

Plaid Cymru: Advocate for business rates reform to support small businesses and the high street.

Reform: Plan to abolish business rates for small and medium-sized high street companies and tax large multinationals 4% for online delivery.

Immigration and Hiring Overseas Workers

Conservatives: Propose a binding legal cap on migration and raising the Skilled Worker visa threshold with inflation.

Labour: Plan to strengthen the Migration Advisory Committee and streamline immigration processes.

Liberal Democrats: Suggest replacing the salary threshold for work visas with a flexible, merit-based system and expanding the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Greens: Want to end the minimum income requirements for work visa holders' spouses.

Plaid Cymru: Advocate for Welsh control over its Shortage Occupation List and visa schemes.

SNP: Seek full powers over immigration for Scotland, including introducing a rural visa pilot scheme.

Reform: Propose restricting student dependents and setting new visa rules for international students.

Minimum Wage

Conservatives: Plan to maintain the National Living Wage at two-thirds of median earnings, projected to rise to around £13 per hour.

Labour: Propose changing the Low Pay Commission's remit to consider the cost of living crisis and removing age bands for the minimum wage.

Liberal Democrats: Advocate for apprentices to earn at least the National Minimum Wage and a 20% higher minimum wage for zero-hour contracts.

Greens: Aim to increase the minimum wage to £15 an hour for all ages, offsetting costs for small businesses through reduced National Insurance payments.

SNP: Propose raising the minimum wage to at least the National Living Wage level and increasing it in line with inflation.

Minister for Tourism and Hospitality

The Liberal Democrats propose elevating tourism status by appointing a dedicated Minister of State for Tourism and Hospitality. No other party has mentioned a dedicated minister for the industry in their manifestos.

Pubs and the Night-Time Economy

The Conservatives intend to review the night-time economy in England to reverse the decline in pubs and clubs. Labour wants to give communities the 'right to buy' community assets, such as pubs, and the Liberal Democrats advocate for greater local authority control over community assets. The Greens propose reviewing planning regulations to better support venues and the night-time economy.

Tax-Free Shopping for Tourists

Reform is the only party that plans to reinstate the tax-free shopping scheme for tourists, which was withdrawn in January 2021. This scheme allows visitors from non-EU countries to claim refunds on sales tax.


The Greens and the SNP are the only parties specifically addressing hospitality VAT. The Greens plan to reduce VAT on hospitality and the arts while increasing it on financial services and private education. They also want to exempt cultural events from VAT. The SNP aims to lower VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors to boost economic growth and support the transition to net zero.

VAT Thresholds

The Conservatives plan to keep the VAT threshold under review, exploring options to smooth the £90,000 cliff edge. Reform wants to raise the VAT threshold to £150,000.

Workers' Rights

Conservatives: Intend to balance workers' right to strike with public rights through the Minimum Service Levels law.

Labour: Propose a comprehensive package to protect workers' rights, including banning zero-hours contracts and introducing basic rights from day one.

Liberal Democrats: Plan to establish a Worker Protection Enforcement Authority and give new rights to gig economy workers.

Greens: Want equal rights for all workers, a four-day working week, and stronger union protections.

Plaid Cymru: Propose abolishing zero-hours contracts, reversing anti-strike legislation, and protecting workers' right to disconnect.

SNP: Seek to protect the right to strike, scrap zero-hours contracts, and address the gender pay gap.

Reform: Propose penalties for hiring illegal workers and easing business employment laws.

Other Policies

Deposit Return Scheme: The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats support the development of a Deposit Return Scheme, while the Greens and Labour focus on a circular economy.

Alcohol Duty: The Conservatives plan to maintain lower duties on draught drinks. Labour has hinted at a beer tax freeze.

Miscellaneous: The Conservatives propose local food procurement in the public sector, Labour plans stricter energy bill regulation, and the Liberal Democrats want to ban certain animal products. The Greens advocate for free school meals and breakfast clubs, Plaid Cymru wants to extend free school meals to secondary schools, and the SNP supports implementing Martyn's Law for hospitality venue security.