According to a report on the Boutique Hotelier website on Thursday 14 January, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has turned down a request to meet with petitioners who raised more than 200,000 signatures to urge the Government to create a Minister of Hospitality role in Parliament.
During PMQs in the commons on Wednesday 13 January, Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North called on Johnson specifically to meet with petitioners calling for a Hospitality Minister, to understand the real challenges they face and the desperate need for a proper voice in Government.
McKinnell addressed the Prime Minister vis Zoom, saying: “We have a petition in Parliament at the moment, and hospitality is a major employer in this country, not to mention the heart and soul of many communities and they have suffered more than most during this pandemic.”
Although he admitted things are tough for the industry he indicated that he felt enough was being done, saying: “She’s right to identify the troubles of the hospitality sector, they have been through a difficult time, but we are doing all we can to support them. Myself, the business secretary and the Chancellor regularly meet with people from that sector, and the recent increase in grants was specifically for them, on top of the furlough, CBILS and more.
“Now the best thing for the sector is that we work together to beat the virus with disciplined action. I’m sure that’s the best thing for them.”
This is a blow to the hospitality industry and its supply chain, which includes many hospitality laundries, which were hopeful of a more positive outcome after a debate in the House of Commons on Monday (11 January) which showed a groundswell of cross-party support for hospitality.