Hospitality Industry: Government Support

Tobias Ellwood Excerpts
Monday 11th January 2021

(3 years, 4 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Catherine McKinnell Portrait Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North) (Lab)
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I beg to move,

That this House has considered e-petitions 552201 and 329985 relating to Government support for the hospitality industry.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Stringer, in a debate on support for the UK hospitality industry and the creation of a Minister for hospitality. Before I begin my comments proper, I want to say a couple of words about participation in this debate.

On Friday, the Mayor of London declared a major incident in the capital, and it is abundantly clear that the rates of covid-19 here are incredibly worrying. In my view, that underlines why we must urgently allow virtual or hybrid proceedings in Westminster Hall debates. I know that many colleagues from across the House share the petitioners’ concerns about the future of bars, restaurants, hotels, night clubs and other hospitality businesses, but are unable to be with us today. I assure hon. Members and the petitioners that, in conjunction with cross-party colleagues, we will continue to press the Government and the House authorities urgently to allow and enable remote participation in these important debates.

We are debating a petition with more than 200,000 signatures, started by Claire Bosi, editor of Chef & Restaurant magazine, alongside a petition on general support for the hospitality industry, created by Chrissie McLaren, which has about 45,000 signatures.

Tobias Ellwood Portrait Mr Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East) (Con)
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I am very grateful for an early intervention. I absolutely support the hon. Lady’s call for a hospitality Minister. I was the shadow Minister for tourism when I first came into Parliament. I wanted that job to continue when we went into government, but the size of Government restricts the number of Ministers it is possible to have, as we will no doubt hear later. In the event that we are not successful in getting a Minister for hospitality, would she support an envoy for hospitality so that we can at least have a voice for this important sector, which has been battered so hard because of covid-19, not least in my Bournemouth constituency?

Catherine McKinnell Portrait Catherine McKinnell
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The right hon. Gentleman makes an important argument. More than 200,000 petitioners are calling for a Minister for hospitality, and I am sure they will be pleased that there are alternative suggestions if the Minister does not agree to that today.