Conservatives Promise Pub and Club Revival in First 100 Days

Conservatives Promise Pub and Club Revival in First 100 Days

24 Jun    Finance News, News

In a bold move to rejuvenate the UK’s beleaguered hospitality sector, the Conservative Party has vowed to launch a comprehensive review of licensing laws and planning regulations within the first 100 days if elected.

This initiative aims to support pubs, restaurants, and music venues, which have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic challenges.

The Conservatives plan to address what they describe as “disproportionate conditions and restrictions” imposed by local councils, aiming to streamline operations and reduce bureaucratic hurdles for businesses. The party also hinted at the potential establishment of a dedicated ministerial position for the night-time economy.

However, Labour has criticised the Conservatives’ track record, stating it is “time to call last orders on the Tories.” The Labour Party highlighted the substantial number of closures in the sector, attributing them to the incumbent government’s policies.

The pandemic’s toll on hospitality has been severe, with venues closing and operational costs rising. Industry figures reveal that around 400 nightclubs shut permanently between March 2020 and December 2023. High-profile closures, such as those by nightclub owner Rekom, underscore the sector’s ongoing struggles.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), expressed cautious optimism. While recognising the Conservatives’ response to the industry’s calls for detailed plans, he emphasised the need for substantial and specific commitments to support the two million people employed in the sector.

Conservative small business minister Kevin Hollinrake reiterated his party’s support for the night-time economy, citing past relief measures and pandemic support. He criticised Labour for proposing higher taxes and more stringent regulations, which he claimed would further harm the industry.

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Labour, however, remains sceptical. A spokesperson pointed to widespread closures under Conservative governance and accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of offering insufficient solutions. The Liberal Democrats and SNP also dismissed the pledge as inadequate, with the latter advocating for a VAT reduction to bolster the tourism and hospitality sectors.

As the general election approaches, the Conservatives’ pledge to revitalise pubs and clubs will be a key point of contention, with the hospitality industry’s future hanging in the balance.

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