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​Serving Britain: Creating Places Where People Want to Live, Work, and Invest

​Serving Britain: Creating Places Where People Want to Live, Work, and Invest

Posted by Emily on 10th Jun 2024

The UK hospitality sector is a cornerstone of the nation's economic and social fabric, generating £140 billion in economic activity and £54 billion in tax receipts annually. Employing 3.5 million people, it provides opportunities across various job roles and skill levels, contributing significantly to community regeneration and social cohesion. This article analyses the UKHospitality report "Serving Britain," highlighting how the hospitality industry is integral to creating vibrant communities, providing inclusive employment, and attracting investment, alongside policy recommendations to unlock its full potential. UKHospitality has been steadfast in its discussions with the government and opposition about the needs of the hospitality industry.

Creating Places Where People Want to Live

Regeneration: Urban regeneration projects increasingly incorporate hospitality at their core, recognising its role in creating vibrant, attractive communities. Successful examples include Manchester City Centre's redevelopment, highlighting hospitality's central role in urban regeneration and place promotion. Similarly, cities like Darlington, Aberdeen, and Buxton leverage hospitality investments to boost local economies and enhance living standards.

Social Cohesion: Hospitality venues often serve as community hubs, fostering social interaction and reducing loneliness. Local pubs, cafes, and restaurants provide essential social spaces, contributing to residents' mental well-being. The strategic partnership between Punch Pubs & Co and People's Captain highlights initiatives promoting mental health discussions and support within the community.

Safety: Well-invested, vibrant areas tend to experience lower crime rates. Hospitality businesses contribute to creating safe, well-lit environments that encourage social activity and reduce anti-social behaviour. Initiatives like the Women's Night Safety Charter emphasise the sector's commitment to ensuring safe public spaces for all, particularly women and girls.

Creating Places Where People Want to Work

Inclusive Employment: The hospitality sector is a significant employer, offering jobs to a diverse range of people, including those traditionally excluded from the workforce. The industry employs 3.5 million people directly, with an extended impact on 6.5 million jobs across the UK. Programs like the Unlocking Hospitality project help ex-offenders transition into the workforce, while Only A Pavement Away supports homeless individuals, veterans, and prison leavers.

Flexibility: Hospitality provides flexible employment options, which arecrucial for individuals balancing education, caregiving, or other commitments. Companies like McDonald's offer flexible contracts, allowing employees to choose work hours that fit their circumstances. This flexibility makes hospitality an attractive sector for a multi-generational workforce.

Social Mobility: Hospitality is a crucial driver of social mobility, offering career progression opportunities to individuals from non-professional backgrounds. Over 60% of workers come from households where the main earner was not in a managerial or professional role. Training and development programs enable rapid career advancement, making hospitality a vital sector for promoting social mobility.

Creating Places Where People Want to Invest

Growth Engine: The hospitality sector is a powerful growth engine, generating £140 billion annually—more than the automotive, pharmaceutical, and aeronautics industries combined. Its geographically dispersed nature ensures economic benefits across the UK. The sector's substantial tax contributions and role in ancillary services like contract catering underline its economic significance.

Powering the Visitor Economy: Hospitality is central to the visitor economy, with tourism exports amounting to £29 billion. Events like the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool showcase the sector's ability to attract international visitors and generate substantial economic benefits for local communities. The hospitality sector's contribution to the UK's global appeal as a tourist and business destination is invaluable.

Inward Investment: The UK's attractiveness as an investment destination is closely linked to the vibrancy of its hospitality sector. London's status as Europe's top destination for hotel investment and the UK's leading position in tourism FDI highlight hospitality's role in enhancing the country's international investment appeal. Projects like the International Convention Centre Wales demonstrate the positive impact of joint public-private investment in hospitality-led regeneration.

Unlocking Our Potential: Policy Recommendations

To fully harness the potential of the hospitality sector, several policy measures are recommended:

1. Reform Business Rates: Adjust the business rates multiplier for hospitality, leisure, and high street retail sectors to ensure these property-intensive businesses are not disproportionately burdened.

2. Support Green Investment: Introduce investment credits and capital allowances to facilitate the sector's transition to net zero and promote sustainable growth.

3. Reduce Staff Costs: Lower Employer National Insurance Contributions for lower-paid earners and raise the threshold at which they are paid to help businesses manage labour costs and deliver higher wages.

4. Reform the Apprenticeship Levy: Allow funds to be used for non-apprenticeship skills training and adopt a modular approach to apprenticeships, enhancing accessibility and reducing dropout rates.

5. Reduce VAT: Lower the VAT rate for hospitality to 12.5% to boost competitiveness, stimulate spending, create jobs, and enable businesses to reinvest in services.

6. Streamline Planning Rules: Simplify the planning process to facilitate hospitality-led regeneration and support the development of new businesses.

Conclusion: The UK hospitality sector is a vital component of the national economy, fostering vibrant communities, providing inclusive employment, and attracting significant investment. The sector's growth can be accelerated by implementing strategic policy reforms, further enhancing its contribution to the UK's social and economic well-being. UKHospitality's ongoing engagement with the government and opposition underscores the critical need to address these issues to benefit the industry and the nation. Visit UKHospitality to read the full document.