Hospitality needs a 'seat at cabinet the table' in Westminster - Michael Caines

Michael Caines wearing chef's whites

Celebrity chef Michael Caines - Credit: Matt Round

Michael Caines on East Devon and beyond

Please excuse an indulgence in this week’s column but I’d like to invite you to help me with a campaign I am backing.

I’m aware that many businesses are struggling during this crisis and not all are able to get the support they need but the hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard by disjointed decisions making during the pandemic.
 

In parliament, representation for hospitality is currently split between two crowded government departments: the department for business, energy and industrial strategy and the department for digital, culture, media and sport. As the UK's 3rd largest employer responsible for three million jobs directly and a further 1.8 million indirectly, our industry needs a clear and strong voice.
 

Many of the challenges we have faced might have been avoided if our representation in government had operational experience and a deeper understanding of the sector.

Pubs and restaurants are more commonly referred to when the hospitality industry is discussed in the media or in parliament, but there are so many more elements that make up this wonderful sector. Hotels, cafés, bars and B&Bs are often overlooked in the narrative. We share a seat at our tables, we deserve a seat at the top table. 
  

It is for that reason that I and other leading players in tourism and hospitality including Robin Hutson from the Pig at Combe, Tom Kerridge and Angela Hartnett, are calling for a bigger voice in Parliament for our Covid-hit industry.

The ‘seat at the table' campaign has been launched in a bid to see a minister specifically put in charge of hospitality and given a place within the Cabinet.

The Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

As someone with a deep understanding of the industry, a dedicated minister would be the champion and guardian of hospitality in parliament, promoting the importance of the economic, social and employment contribution, drive strategy and advance the status of the industry. 

More than 180,000 people had signed the campaign petition at the time of writing.

But we want to keep the names rolling in to ram home the message that we want a louder voice in the corridors of power.

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The petition can be found at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552201/signatures/new

Please sign it and help to protect the future of an industry that is so important to the South West economy.

Finally, with the increasing rise of infections and continuous loss of life, it's more important than ever that we follow the advice and do all we can to limit the spread and help the NHS. Together we can beat this!

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