Government having ‘serious conversation' about hospitality minister

08 February 2021 by
Government having ‘serious conversation' about hospitality minister

The government is understood to be having a "serious conversation" regarding the creation of a dedicated minister for hospitality position.

Exclusive Collection managing director Danny Pecorelli had a call last week with chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, who acknowledged that the sector "hasn't had the representation it deserves".

Speaking to The Caterer after the wide-ranging conversation, which also covered VAT, business rates, furlough and the rent moratorium following preparatory discussions with Pig hotelier Robin Hutson and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls, Pecorelli said he felt more positive regarding the government perception of the hospitality industry following the conversation.

"What was supposed to be a 15-minute call was well over half an hour," he said. "There seemed to be a genuine knowledge, empathy and concern for the plight of my business and hospitality overall."

The petition for a dedicated minister, which received more than 200,000 signatories following the #SeatAtTheTable campaign, prompted a debate in Parliament and a question posed in the House of Lords last week.

More details are expected to be clarified on 22 February as the prime minister sets out the ‘roadmap to reopening'. No further news is expected on either VAT or business rates until the chancellor's Budget on 3 March.

Treasury minister Jesse Norman previously said that there were "no current plans" to further extend the reduction in VAT, although a petition to extend the VAT cut until at least March 2022 has received more than 10,000 signatures, meaning the government must respond to it. Norman also suggested last week that further business rates help could be on the way.

Photo: Shutterstock

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