By Denis Sheehan MIH, Publisher, H&C News: IoH CEO calls on Kwasi Kwarteng highlighting hospitality’s anxieties on spiralling energy costs.
Institute of Hospitality CEO Robert Richardson FIH has taken the unprecedented step of writing to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng on behalf of the institute’s 14,000 + members, to highlight their anxieties about spiralling UK energy costs.
In recent weeks, the IoH has received a mountain of emails and telephone calls asking for advice and support on what can be done to assist businesses to pay their energy bills, as the UK economic situation continues to worsen.
Richardson reflected on the crisis telling us: “The pressure on our industry is increasing daily. We already have the challenges of a skills shortage, supply shortages, and cost of living rises, all of which have a constant impact on our industry’s viability.
“As we move towards the winter, our members’ voices are getting louder.
“Our members, made up of professionals within sole trading businesses, SMEs, and FTSE 100 companies, are gravely concerned that a current lack of planned support measures to support their businesses through these challenging times will cause business closures, loss of jobs and livelihoods.
“At the Institute of Hospitality, we have a responsibility to our members, to support them and make their voices heard. So, we have been forced to ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy to advise us on what support can and will be made available before more hospitality businesses are forced to close.”
Kellie Rixon MBE FIH and Chair of the IoH Supervisory Board is clear about the motivation behind raising this at government level: “It is times like these that our hospitality family needs to stand together and demand change. We support our membership in speaking out to help our businesses and people survive this next crisis.”
IoH College of Fellows’ member, Peter Hales FIH, Managing Director of the hotel management company, Michels & Taylor sees the crisis clearly and thinks the solution is apparent: “Hotels are operating in a climate of soaring energy and supply chain costs, rising interest rates and ongoing staff shortages. All when the consumer purse is being squeezed like never before.
“The hospitality sector must be prepared for a potential spending slowdown, especially as the Autumn approaches. It’s simply not possible or viable to increase prices sufficiently to offset the extreme levels of cost increases we’re seeing pretty much across the board.
“The pandemic showed what a critical role the hospitality sector plays in the UK’s economic health, yet our industry is now facing an unprecedented set of circumstances and I see no plan or support from the UK Government yet. A reduction in business rates and the reintroduction of reduced VAT would be a start. We need to see some action and we need to see it now.”
The letter to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng is below.