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UK’s third largest private sector employer gets new, united voice

UK’s third largest private sector employer gets new, united voice

Massive industry support for the launch of UKHospitality, the powerful new voice for the £130bn hospitality sector

London, 22 February 2018: Overwhelming support from ALMR and BHA members yesterday triggered the creation of UKHospitality, a strong, united voice for the hospitality sector.

UKHospitality will be the voice of a sector that generates £130bn revenue each year, providing an authoritative voice to over 700 member companies, operating 65,000 venues in a sector that employs 2.9 million people. The association will spearhead hospitality’s representation on the strategic, structural and regulatory issues it faces, campaigning for policies to help the sector achieve further growth as a key driver of the UK economy.

Hospitality has faced myriad cost pressures in recent years which have severely impacted the sector, with 2017 restaurant insolvencies alone up by a fifth on the previous year. UKHospitality will ensure that the government has a full understanding of the social and economic impacts of policies such as the National Living Wage, business rates and Brexit on the third largest private sector employer in the UK.

The new body has three clear objectives: firstly, creating a tax system which is fit for purpose, one which reflects the realities of business in the 21st century and allows a level playing field for traditional high street and community-based businesses which now compete with online companies; secondly, a regulatory regime which allows the hospitality sector to focus on growth rather than red tape; and finally, developing the hospitality workforce of the future.

The Board of UKHospitality will be led by Kate Nicholls, CEO; Nick Varney of Merlin Entertainments, Chair; and Steve Richards of Casual Dining Group, Deputy Chair. Ufi Ibrahim, Chief Executive of the British Hospitality Association, has decided to pursue other interests after eight successful years with the organisation.

Commenting after the EGM votes, Kate Nicholls said: “The hospitality sector is at a critical point, with fantastic innovation, dynamism and enthusiasm across the industry, however this is being jeopardised by significant cost increases and red-tape. The incredible member support for creating UKHospitality demonstrates our ambition to reshape the future of an industry, which represents 10% of UK employment and generates £38bn of tax for the Exchequer. I look forward to working closely with all members to achieve our vision and to give a sector of huge economic, cultural and social importance the voice it deserves within government, and to deliver the much-needed policies that will support its strong growth trajectory.”

Nick Varney said: “Today’s launch is a significant moment for our sector. The hospitality industry needs the right commercial environment in which to prosper. Our vibrant and dynamic sector has been overlooked in policy decisions over recent years, which has had a direct impact on jobs and value creation. I thank Ufi Ibrahim for her significant contribution to the BHA; as CEO she reshaped and reformed the organisation from the ground up, raised its profile with government and championed many policy-shaping initiatives. The Board and members wish her every success in her future ventures. I look forward to working closely with Kate Nicholls and the UKHospitality Board, to enhance the development of the diverse and innovative hospitality sector in the UK.”

Steve Richards added: “We are today reiterating our call for a dedicated Minister to represent an industry which is the third largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined. The sector’s tax contribution is as big as the defence budget, and warrants focused attention from government. Kate and the team have an ambitious plan to secure the future of our industry and will be actively engaging on behalf of the sector at home and abroad.”


For further information, please contact:

Brunswick Group LLP for UKHospitality 0207 4040 5959
Fiona Micallef-Eynaud / Honoria Simpson

Fleet Street Communications 02035675810
Mark Stretton

Notes to editors
• The Board of UKHospitality will include: Wendy Bartlett of Bartlett Mitchell, Steve Cassidy of Hilton, Grant Hearn of Amaris Hospitality, Bob Ivell of M&B, Simon Jones of Premier Inn, Dermot King of Bourne Leisure, Peter Marks of The Deltic Group, Ranjit Mathrani of Masala World, Calum Ross of Loch Melfort, Robin Rowland of YO! Sushi, Alex Salussolia of Glendola Leisure, Damian Walsh of CGA and Paul Wigham of All Our Bars.
• An Advisory Council to UKHospitality, chaired by Steve Richards, current Chair of the ALMR and CEO of Casual Dining Group, will be established that brings together those elected members of each current organisation
• Separate groups will ensure that all interests and concerns of member companies are addressed in the work of UKHospitality:
o Robin Rowland of YO! Sushi will chair the restaurant group;
o Bob Ivell of M&B will chair the pub group;
o Peter Marks of Deltic will chair the late-night group;
o Paul Wigham, Phil Thorley and Alex Salussolia will continue to provide vital SME input at all levels of the structure of the proposed association
o There are regional policy groups; including separate groups for Scotland and Wales, sub-sector groups and various policy specific groups.

Research undertaken recently, as part of the consideration of this merger, reveals that:
• Hospitality in the UK represents 10% of employment, 6% of businesses in the and 5% of GDP
• The sector has grown by 5.8% per year on average since 2010
• There are 2.9 million jobs in hospitality; an increase of 16% since 2010. Last year, hospitality generated 1 in 8 net new jobs
• There were 26,000 new business starts across the sector in 2016