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UK chefs petition for a hospitality minister

A group of top UK chefs, including Angela Hartnett and Marcus Wareing, are petitioning for the government to appoint a hospitality minster to defend the sector.

Marcus Wareing is one of the chefs leading the petition

Led by the likes of Paul Ainsworth, the online petition has already received 5,568 signatures. If you would like to support the move, you can sign the petition here.

“Responsible for around 3m jobs, generating £130bn in activity, resulting in £38bn in taxation, yet, unlike the arts or sports, we do not have a dedicated minister,” the petition says. “We are asking that a minister for hospitality be created for the current, and successive governments.”

“Policy has been made and unmade without consulting those that are impacted most,” campaign organiser and editor of Chef & Restaurant Magazine, Claire Bosi, told the BBC.

Angela Hartnett is calling for a hospitality minister

“Our country is renowned for having a hospitality sector that is synonymous with excellence, innovation and inspiration.

“As such a vital part of both the country’s economy and reputation, it seems fair that we are given a representative voice in Parliament,” Bosi added.

The hospitality sector has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. While the Eat Out to Help Out scheme brought in much-needed revenue in August, the recently imposed 10pm curfew in England has dealt the industry a crippling blow, with many urging the government to explain the science behind it.

Calls to review the 10pm curfew are gathering momentum, with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer both demanding that Boris Johnson proves that the decision was based on scientific evidence.

“Lockdown and the government’s contradictory communication around it was the start of many difficulties for the industry, with the introduction of a curfew across the country the latest.

“With no representation in Parliament, the government was ill-equipped to assess the potential damages of its policy, or the ways in which these might have been mitigated,” the group told the BBC.

The chefs are hoping the appointment of a minister for hospitality would provide a voice in parliament for the industry’s concerns about taxation and legislation. With the government’s furlough scheme coming to an end this month, the hospitality industry is on a knife-edge, with mass redundancies on the horizon.

Just yesterday db reported that restaurants, pubs and bars in cities including Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle could soon be forced to close after reports that further restrictions will be announced in the north of England next week.

From today, pubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh have been forced to close for two weeks, while restaurants, pubs and bars in other parts of Scotland have to close at 6pm, with no alcohol able to be sold indoors.

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