MPs have urged Boris Johnson to create a new minister for hospitality, as the sector continues to suffer during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, chair of the Petitions Committee Catherine McKinnell MP asked Johnson to engage with pub and restaurant bosses over concerns there is no long-term plan for the industry’s recovery.
A petition to create a minister for hospitality has been signed by more than 208,000 people, prompting a House of Commons debate on the issue last week.
McKinnell, the Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North, said the hospitality industry will play a crucial role in the economy’s recovery from the pandemic – particularly in providing jobs for young people.
She also urged the government to develop a more coordinated approach to the hospitality industry.
It comes after a report published this morning by CGA and restructuring firm Alixpartners revealed that around 6,000 licensed venues across Britain closed in 2020 – an almost threefold increase on the previous year.
McKinnell said: “Although the government has provided a range of support to the hospitality industry throughout this pandemic, it is clear that there are still many great challenges that lie ahead as the country begins to recover.
“A coordinated approach on this issue is vital.”
She added: “It is crucial that there is a strong voice within government to represent the diverse interests of those who own businesses and work within the hospitality sector to prevent further closures and losses of jobs.
“The Prime Minister is the only person in government with the authority to create this position, and I urge him and his ministerial colleagues to make time to meet with the petitioners to listen to their concerns.”