Hospitality businesses hailed ‘heroes of the high streets’

A government report into the future of the high street suggested focusing on green space, leisure, arts and culture, health and social care services businesses instead of retail

Hospitality trade bodies have applauded the housing, communities and local government’s report which was published today (21 February) and said high streets and town centres needed to shift the focus from shopping onto leisure.

This report follows the committees recent enquiry into what is needed to save the UK high streets and town centres. A number of recommendations were made in the report including a reduction in business rates for retailers and businesses in town centres; an online sales tax for businesses that were no longer contributing via bricks and mortar rates; and a 12- month payment ‘holiday’ from rate increases in order to encourage investments into premises.

British Institute of Innkeeping CEO, Mike Clist, said: “The recommendations made in the report are a move in the right direction from government, which will go some way to helping our members overcome the challenges they currently face in their businesses. We know that pubs are vital to the health of high streets up and down the country, but the recognition of this from government is fantastic to see.”

UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, added: “Hospitality businesses lie at the heart of communities across the UK and play pivotal economic and social roles on UK high streets. The report gives due recognition to how crucial the sector is to the high street of the future, as they move away from the shopping-focus of the past. Policies to drive growth and regenerate high streets must have hospitality at their core and this needs to be recognised by the government and local authorities.

“In the absence of the government’s promised full of review of business rates, this represents the most radical assessment of the state of the rates regime. This is a great starting point for opening up the conversation and beginning to address an issue that has crippled many high street businesses, not least in hospitality.”

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