MPs rally for hospitality sector support in Westminster Hall debate

01/02/2024

MPs from various political backgrounds gathered in a Westminster Hall Debate, led by Alyn Smith, MP for Stirling, to advocate for fiscal measures supporting the struggling hospitality sector. The debate focused on key asks from UKHospitality ahead of the Budget, emphasising the need for a lower VAT rate, addressing imminent business rate increases, and broader business rates reform.

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, expressed appreciation for the strong parliamentary response, saying, “It’s evident from the debate that MPs recognize the challenges facing the sector and back our calls for urgent action.”

In the debate, several MPs echoed UKHospitality’s priorities, highlighted the urgency of lowering the VAT rate and implementing comprehensive business rates reform. Alyn Smith, MP for Stirling, stated, “Am I looking for special treatment for the hospitality sector? Yes. I think they need it and I think they deserve it.”

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, urged action on VAT, saying, “Please listen to the hospitality sector, who are screaming out that VAT is too high.”

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay, called for fundamental business rates reform, stating, “I think we need more fundamental reform of business rates for the hospitality sector to reduce the burden of that particular tax.”

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, appealed for support, saying, “All we’re asking you to do, Minister, is back a sector that will boost our economy to the tune of billions more.”

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, emphasised the sector’s vulnerability, stating, “The hospitality sector is at the sharp end of all markets sensitivities. It feels every economic challenge acutely. The sector needs support.”

UKHospitality hopes the government will consider these pleas in the upcoming Budget to aid a sector integral to the UK economy.

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