UK: Hospitality leaders share their thoughts on how Liz Truss, newly-appointed UK Prime Minister, can support the industry.
Robin Sheppard, president, Bespoke Hotels:
“I think the best thing Liz Truss could do is resign but assuming she won’t lets hope she puts in immediate and robust measures to reduce VAT, re-open labour migration from the EU and use windfall taxes to ease hikes in energy costs.”
Dominic Sherry, CEO, Flying Butler:
“There are two pressing issues which the Prime Minister needs to tackle: the energy crisis, and supporting the industry with staffing post-Brexit. The government should consider lowering the VAT again during these very difficult times.”
Merilee Karr, chairperson, STAA/CEO, UnderTheDoormat Group:
“We look forward to working with the PM’s new team on how together we can continue to deliver the responsible growth of the short-term rentals sector and how best to provide business support for the cost of living crisis so that the UK maintains its leadership role in this innovative industry.
“We want to ensure that our sector can continue to provide households across the UK with an opportunity to earn much needed extra income to support them with increasing costs and be a solution to the challenges ahead.”
Grace Leo, managing partner, Relais Retreats:
“I hope that Liz Truss will deliver on her promises to address the cost-of-living crisis and follow through on freezing energy bills. It is crucial for the hotel sector that public confidence is restored, and that people feel they can spend their hard-earned money on travel and leisure experiences that enrich their lives. As with many UK hoteliers, we need to see real actions that lessen the cost burden on the hospitality industry, already struggling with rising prices and a nationwide staffing crisis, so we can operate profitably and focus on fulfilling our role as employees and custodians of service.”
Kate Nicholls, CEO, UKHospitality:
“Congratulations to Liz Truss on her election as the new leader of the Conservative Party and our Prime Minister. We very much look forward to working closely with her and the new Cabinet in the coming weeks, as we strive to save the hospitality industry, which is experiencing crushing cost rises.
“The new Government must act quickly and decisively to address the soaring energy bills that are facing consumers and businesses. With the right package of support – including a reduction in the headline rate of VAT for the sector to 12.5 per cent, a business rates holiday, the deferral of all environmental levies, the reinstatement of a HMRC Time to Pay scheme and the reintroduction of a trade credit insurance scheme for energy – the sector will be well placed to aid growth through generating jobs and local investment.
“Pre-pandemic, our industry spent £10 billion a year in high-street regeneration and employed 3.2 million people but with energy bills for hospitality businesses rising 300 per cent on average – and as high as 750 per cent in some cases – we desperately need a package of support put in place if we are to be able to play our part in the UK’s economic recovery and growth.”