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MPs Will Debate the Case for a Minister of Hospitality in 2021

After a petition amassed the required 100,000 signatures, MPs will discuss the matter on 11 January 2021

The House of Commons mapped with Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson, Chuka Umunna, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Theresa May

The House of Commons is now obliged to discuss a ministerial role for hospitality

U.K. MPs will debate the creation of a minister for hospitality on 11 January 2021, after a petition amassed the required 100,000 signatures to force a parliamentary debate. The brief petition, which simply says: “Create a Minister for Hospitality in the UK Government,” has been backed across the restaurant world, after the novel coronavirus pandemic highlighted the relative political powerlessness of a £130 billion sector.

Hospitality’s relative lack of political power has been an albatross throughout the crisis. While trade association U.K. Hospitality is able to exert pressure on the government through the media, and in giving evidence to House of Commons committees on policy that will affect hospitality, restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars do not have a direct government representative. Alternatives to U.K. Hospitality have been few and far between, often relying on incomplete Public Health England data to claim that “it’s not happening in hospitality.” Chef and restaurateur Asma Khan this week said that “the voices speaking for hospitality were not inclusive or diverse,” with many of the voices of the industry chosen for television being backers or owners of large groups and chains.

These contradictions are in part explained by the disparities in need between the very different businesses that compose hospitality, but as chef Angela Hartnett reiterated last week, alongside the Seat at the Table campaign, there is no one area of government to whom the sector can direct its complaints or suggestions, however diverse they may be.

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