Prime Minister David Cameron’s jobs summit with executives from leading companies emphasises the importance of the hospitality industry as a jobs creator, says Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association.
Those invited included major BHA-member hospitality industry groups, InterContinental Hotels Group and McDonald’s. Both are already producing a large number of entry-level jobs which will allow young people to develop their career in hospitality.
“In our report which we published in October – Creating Jobs in Britain – A Hospitality Economy Proposition - we said that hospitality could create 236,000 jobs by 2015 providing the right supportive framework was in place,” says Ms Ibrahim. .
“It’s critically important that government realises that this cannot be achieved alone. We need a positive partnership with government that recognises that policy and regulations can make or break this objective. Past governments have just not recognised the industry’s job-creating potential.”
Ms Ibrahim said that, with the rate of VAT now at 20 per cent, the British hospitality industry was operating at an even greater disadvantage to its European competitors than before, most of whom had reduced rates of VAT for hospitality services.
“We are very anxious to collaborate with government on a joint study on the economic impact of the rate of VAT on hotel accommodation, visitor attractions and restaurant meals.
“We believe that the evidence gathered from this study will show that lowering the rate of VAT will stimulate greater demand from both the home and overseas markets, boost growth in the industry generally and help generate those 236,000 new jobs.”
Ms Ibrahim added that reducing the regulations that affect businesses and encouraging banks to take a more understanding approach to lending were critical to the creation of new jobs.
“Needless regulations are costly and time-consuming to implement while lack of funding holds back growth. The BHA has called for a cross-cabinet committee for hospitality and tourism to coordinate policy across Whitehall.
“We’ve got to get government to provide the right framework for industry to be able to create the jobs and skills that the country so urgently needs.”