MAGAZINE

Just as we are about to go to print, I have received an open letter to the sector from our friends at The Food Service Circle. Signed by the leaders of over 20 major contract caterers, it encourages people to sign a petition calling for a new minister for hospitality.

Rather inefficiently, as the letter points out, hospitality is currently split in two: between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. There have been intermittent calls to rectify this for a few years now, but this has understandably solidified recently. Other than saying that we fully support this call, letting the letter speak for itself explains the position best:

“Having contributed over £130bn to the economy, resulting in £38bn taxation, the UK hospitality industry is the country’s third-largest employer, responsible for around 3.2m jobs directly, and 1.8m indirectly. In addition to championing hospitality and promoting the importance of its economic, social, and employment contribution, a dedicated minister would drive cohesive thinking and strategy at the top table inclusive of all sub-sectors. We believe this person would have played a vital role in supporting the government throughout the pandemic period.

“The individual appointed would be fully invested and have a deep understanding of this complex industry — including the contract catering sector — while also advancing the status of hospitality and tourism as a whole. This shift in structure will force the government to support and engage with hospitality leaders, as well as helping to promote growth and the sector’s interests.

“We are delighted that the petition has now hit its 100,000 target, but considering the number of businesses in serious financial difficulty, the growing number of redundancies, and the threat of increasing restrictions, the more voices we have pushing for this debate, the better. We collectively commit to signing the petition and sharing the important message with team members, customers, suppliers, friends and family, and our local MP.

“Together, we can get through this challenging period.”

To sign the petition, go to www.linktr.ee/seat_at_the_table.