The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has called on political parties to take hospitality seriously, as part of its 'manifesto' ahead of the General Election.
The BHA indicated that it wanted to lead a campaign against bureaucracy and regulation, which it feared was stifling the progress of small firms employing fewer than 50 people, which make up 80% of the hospitality sector.
The BHA has called upon the new Government to:
1) Offer a commitment to take hospitality and tourism seriously and for the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to communicate more effectively with other Government departments (provided the DCMS survives the election).
2) Change capital allowances to make them better-suited to hotel development, following the scrapping of the Hotel Buildings Allowance and the introduction of an 'unsatisfactory' new capital allowances regime. Introduce 'Tourist Growth Zones' in resorts with tax incentives to aid regeneration.
3) Develop a more consistent approach to training and education with tax incentives to encourage businesses to train their staff.
4) Recognise the special nature of tourism marketing funding. The BHA argues that although public spending is likely to be cut back, the outlay for tourism marketing is "more than repaid" in taxes from additional visitors.
5) Support jobs by doing away with National Insurance increases planned for 2011, which are likely to hit an industry which, in some parts, already has payroll costs that exceed 40% of revenue.
6) A more pragmatic approach from the Food Standards Agency and European Commission towards nutrition and other information on menus.
7) Resist the temptation to 'punish' hotels and restaurants for alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and health problems through "an almost constant tinkering" with licensing law in England, Scotland and Wales.
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By Neil Gerrard
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