Government’s Industrial Strategy needs targeted support

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The ALMR has responded to the Government’s Green paper on building the UK’s Industrial Strategy calling on decision-makers to provide a range of critical support for businesses and offering the ALMR’s support on promoting growth across the pub, restaurant and late-night hospitality sectors.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in seeking views on a wide range of topics to help shape the industrial strategy and the ALMR’s submission makes a number of recommendations including:

• Close working relationships between central government, local authorities and businesses to prioritise partnerships and deliver growth.

• A focus on developing sector deals to promote skills development depending on the needs of the communities

• A reduction in the tax burden for the eating and drinking-out sector, with a continued focus on business rates, and an understanding of how the tax burden impacts the wider industrial strategy

• The development of incentives to encourage further investment in pubs, restaurants, bars and nightclubs

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The Government’s approach to developing a workable and fruitful industrial strategy for the UK is wide-ranging, encompassing a diverse range of sectors and tactics to promote growth. The ALMR’s dialogue with the Government has highlighted the integral part that licensed hospitality – an accessible, dynamic and socially and economically vibrant sector – can play as part of the wider strategy.

“Since the recession, and despite increasing costs and tightening margins, the sector has evolved and grown, creating 1 in 8 new jobs and continuing to provide a vital social function.
“If the Government wishes to make a real success of its industrial strategy, and support an integral part of the economy, we need to see closer working relationships between authorities, both national and local, and the businesses that do so much good work. That means a shift away from opportunistic taxing towards a more holistic approach that rewards partnership working and voluntary schemes.

“The Government made at good first start at the Spring Budget in addressing the rising costs that pubs are facing, but we need additional measures to help support other hospitality businesses including restaurants that are rejuvenating high streets. The wider industrial strategy needs to understand that businesses crippled by tax cannot succeed and that businesses free of these burdens are in a much better place to grow and contribute even more.

“As Brexit approaches, and with a number of businesses understandably concerned about the future, we need decisive action to reassure employers and make sure that the UK does not suffer from a skills and personnel shortage.

“The Government’s industrial strategy has the potential to unlock further growth and provide support for many businesses and their employees. This will only occur if we are presented with a strategy that reduces burdens and encourages investment. The ALMR has made it clear that it is in a fantastic position to work with its members, and the wider sector, to help promote skills and boost the continual growth of the sector and make a success of the industrial strategy.”

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