The Queen’s Speech earlier today in Parliament set out Boris Johnson’s government plans on Brexit and a wide range of domestic policies that opposition unsurprisingly dismissed as a party election broadcast. 26 bills in total were announced with seven pieces of Brexit-related legislation. These included measures to establish new regulatory frameworks for fishing, farming, trade and a bill to end freedom of movement and bring in a points-based immigration system from 2021.
Commenting on today’s Queen’s Speech, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said:
On tipping: “Legislation on tipping threatens to add another unwanted burden on businesses at an already very hectic time. Any new measures need to have full input from the hospitality sector, the businesses who will be affected.
“We already have a clear, transparent and fair voluntary Code of Practice regarding the collection and sharing of tips. The Code makes it clear to businesses, employees and customers how tips can be fairly shared so that all team members get what they deserve and customers can be confident that the money they tip is going to the correct place.
“Deductions are sometimes made to service charges as hospitality businesses are charged by banks in order to process payments. If the full amount is to be passed on, then hospitality businesses are going to be forced to foot the bill. If there is a new legal obligation to pass on the full amount of a service charge, then there needs to be action to ensure that hospitality, a sector that provides over 3.2 million jobs around the UK, is not stuck with yet another tax. That may mean measures to cap or remove charges to hospitality businesses altogether.”
On immigration: “Reassurances for EU workers already in the UK are welcome. EU nationals make a very valuable contribution to the UK’s hospitality sector and we want to make sure they get the message and understand their options for Settled Status.
“A points-based immigration system could be disastrous for hospitality if potential employees are prevented from coming here to work. Any future system needs to be nuanced enough to recognise the wide range of skills needed in hospitality and across the UK’s economy and to ensure that businesses can still recruit. This needs to be supplemented to by an enhanced focus on vocational skills to ensure that domestic talent can thrive in the modern workforce.
“The introduction of a new system from 2021 is likely to cause substantial headaches for employers and there will not be enough time to adjust and plan.”
On employment reform: “The Government’s own statement says that the UK’s flexible labour market is working. Hospitality is a sector that requires a degree of flexibility as businesses respond to fluctuating demand and many employees appreciate the chance to fit their work around other pursuits such as studying and family responsibilities. Any new measures need to appreciate that sectors like hospitality do not operate on a 9-to-5 basis and need a degree of flexibility.”
On protecting the environment: “Hospitality shares the wider environmental concerns and we have already been working proactively to cut waste, promote recycling and tackle environmental issues. Voluntary measures have already worked to remove huge amounts of single-use plastic and we are working on measures to reduce carbon emissions for our sector. Any new measures need to ensure they do not undermine the work we are already doing or, worse, pile on additional costs.”
When industry bodies like UKHospitality and others spend so much time and effort guiding and advising government on matters relating to specific industries, like ours, Priti Patel laughing at them is less than courteous.