Trade reacts to election pledges

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

09 May 2017

With all parties now on the campaign trail, the trade has been reacting to the election promises of May, Corbin, Farron et al.

Unsurprisingly immigration is proving to be one of the biggest concerns for politicians and the trade. While Corbin has hinted at a soft Brexit, stating that protecting national interests should be a priority rather than showing 'who can be [the] toughest with Brussels', Farron has pledged a second referendum if successful.

Almost a quarter of workers in the hospitality sector come from outside of the UK

Whereas May has shown no signs of backing down on her hard Brexit stance, and yesterday called for the UK to give her a 'strong mandate' for entering talks with the EU.

The prime minister’s pledge that the Conservative Party will reduce immigration if successful was met with concern by the ALMR. Almost a quarter of workers in the hospitality sector come from outside of the UK, with nearly half of immigrant workers originating from inside the EU.

'The eating and drinking out sector is heavily reliant on non-UK workers, particularly those from the European Union,' chief executive Kate Nicholls, said.

'This is a significant portion of the workforce, and pubs and restaurants will need to hire even more over the next few years if they are to continue growing.

Investment in training, and access to those with the right skills will be vital

'With the country running at almost full employment, eating and drinking out businesses will inevitably have to look oversees to fill vacancies. This is not a calculated preference for oversees workers, it is simply a matter of filling a shortage.'

Investment in training, and access to those with the right skills will be vital, according to the BBPA. The body has launched its manifesto for the brewing and pub industry outlining its priorities.

They include: an immigration system that supports the necessary staffing levels for the sector; a reduction in the high rates of UK beer taxation; a more competitive tax regime that encourages consumption of lower strength drinks; and a review of business rates including an expansion of pub-specific rates relief, to £5,000 per pub.

The group also says a free trade deal with the EU, without additional paperwork, is vital for beer imports and exports. It also said greater government support is needed to foster beer exports in overseas markets.

'As a vital industry employing around 900,000 people, we will be using it to engage with serving politicians and candidates throughout the campaign,' BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds added. 'I hope candidates in all parties will recognise the importance of brewing and pubs to our communities and the economy, and help promote the policies needed to create sustainable growth in the sector.'

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