Responding to today’s Spring Statement and the earlier announcement on tariffs, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:

On the digital economy

“High streets have been seriously impacted by the ongoing shift to digital businesses and hospitality businesses are no exception. It is most welcome that Government is realising that the UK’s tax and regulatory environment needs to keep pace with the way the world is changing. In hospitality, this is clearly manifested in the relatively unregulated worlds of home-sharing and online travel agents, which are dominated by big companies.”

“Commitment to ensure there is more transparency for both businesses and consumers is certainly welcome and we will look forward to engaging with the Government to ensure the concerns of our members are heard.”

“We also urgently need movement on the long-overdue review of the businesses rates system, to capitalise on the introduction of the Digital Services Tax and make sure the system is fit for purpose in the 21st Century.”

On training

“Commitments to vocational training are welcome, but the sector is facing an acute staff and skills shortage. The move to bring forward apprenticeship support for SMEs is positive but we need broader support to ensure we can deliver on apprenticeships as soon as possible.”

On wages

“Businesses are continually facing increasing costs. We always want to pay our team members well for their hard work, but it is right that National Minimum and Living Wage rates are considered independently by the Low Pay Commission, on the basis of hard evidence. We welcome the Government’s commitment to engage with businesses on the future trajectory of rates.”

On today’s no deal tariff announcement

“Tariffs are self-evidently going to increase costs for businesses and for consumers. Many businesses will really struggle to pass those costs on. With costs increasing on all sides, tariffs on food are hugely unhelpful for hospitality businesses. We need the Government to find a way past this Brexit impasse as a matter of extreme urgency. Tariffs cannot be allowed to continue beyond even the shortest of short term – and preferably will not need to be enacted.”