The Government has today met with petitioners calling for a Minister for Hospitality. Further to calls from Labour MP Catherine McKinnell, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, agreed for Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully, to discuss the issue with three members of the Seat At The Table campaign.
More than 200,000 people signed the petition calling for the creation of the post, which saw it discussed in Parliament.
Robin Hutson, owner of the Pig hotels, was one of the three attendees, along with chef and restaurateur Angela Hartnett and Claire Bosi of Chef & Restaurant Magazine.
He told Telegraph Travel:
We met with Minister Paul Scully (who has restaurants and pubs within his remit), together with some of his team. We had a good exchange about the need for greater representation within Government.
Minister Scully and his team were listening and there is certainly an intention to support the sector on an ongoing basis and there was agreement about raising the importance of the sector; they have offered to meet us again. Of course, the appointment of ministers rests solely with the Prime Minister; we have asked if he would grant us an audience personally.
Unlike manufacturing, retail and aviation, there is currently no government minister responsible solely for hospitality. Instead, representation for the sector is split between two already crowded government departments: The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
“Hospitality is a vast industry and it’s not one size fits all,” said Michelin-starred chef proprietor Angela Hartnett, MBE, whose restaurants include Hartnett Holder & Co at Lime Wood hotel in the New Forest, speaking about the campaign last month. “I think we need someone far more in the know. They would understand the difference between shutting down a 50-bedroom hotel and a coffee shop.”