It’s time to give the Hospitality sector a Seat At The Table

PUBLISHED: 14:19 08 December 2020 | UPDATED: 14:24 08 December 2020

Hospitality contributes £130bn to the UK economy. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hospitality contributes £130bn to the UK economy. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Why I’m backing the campaign to get a fair say for this vital aspect of the UK economy

The �Seat At The Table� campaign has received the backing of celebrity chef Tom Kerridge. Photo: Amy MurrellThe �Seat At The Table� campaign has received the backing of celebrity chef Tom Kerridge. Photo: Amy Murrell

Did you know this country has a Minister for Exports, a Minister for the Pacific, a Minister for Media and Data and even a Minister for Efficiency and Transformation (whatever that is)? But not a Minister for Hospitality.

Laudable and vital though I am sure those aforementioned Ministers’ roles are, it does appear to me there is something of a dysfunction in Government for it to be operating without a Minster for Hospitality, especially after the year the sector has just had and the travails it is still experiencing right now.

Hospitality is the third largest employer in the UK, with over three million people employed in the sector and a further two million dependent on it. Our fishing sector has its own Minister - and I am not decrying that - but when one considers that it contributes £1.4bn to the UK economy, whilst hospitality is worth £130bn, then something here does appear to be a tad skewed. Add in the £38bn which hospitality contributes in taxation and you are talking about a serious player...which deserves serious Government attention.

Frankly, that doesn’t really appear to be the case right now when major decisions are being taken which affect hospitality and it doesn’t appear that the sector’s voice is getting a voice at the Government’s table.

And that is why the indefatigable Robin Hutson, founder of The Pig Hotels, has launched a campaign to change matters. The Seat At The Table campaign has been launched with a petition which needs 100,000 signatures to be debated in Parliament, which would be a start but, frankly, is just that - a start.

Political and social pressure needs to be applied to those in power to make them realise that the hundreds of restaurants, pubs, cafés and bars throughout the UK need better representation than they are currently getting.

Hundreds of Britain’s finest hospitality providers are actively behind the campaign including Angela Hartnett, Tom Kerridge, Rick Stein, and Jamie Oliver. You too can play your part by signing the petition here And you can follow the campaign and lend your support on social media with the hashtag #seatatthetable

Angela Hartnett is a big supporter of the 'Seat At The Table’ campaign. Photo: Seat At The TableAngela Hartnett is a big supporter of the 'Seat At The Table’ campaign. Photo: Seat At The Table

Contact your MP too and ask them their view on the issue and ask them to lobby for change. With talk of a January reshuffle in government there is no reason why a Minister for Hospitality needn’t take a much-needed seat at the table.

It’s a subject very close to my heart and I hope it is to yours too. Most of us enjoy the benefits of a strong and vibrant hospitality sector in our communities and it is simply wrong that it is not getting the right representation in Government. Together, we can change this.

Latest from the Devon Life