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Industry voices disappointment at budget

HBAA and drp express disappointment at lack of industry-specific measures in autumn budget

Pictured: Louise Goalen, HBAA chair

The HBAA (formerly the Hotel Booking Agents Association) has said it is disappointed by the absence of industry-specific measures in the Autumn Budget Statement

The association had called for financial support to encourage young people to train in the hospitality sector and a reduction in tourism taxation ahead of the budget.

Louise Goalen, HBAA chair, said: “We’re disappointed by the absence of specific measures to help the hospitality and meetings industry in the Autumn Budget Statement to address important issues.

“Financial incentives or assistance for young people to train and to encourage talent in the hospitality and events sector are needed to help reduce youth unemployment and prepare for the declining number of EU workers coming here, a massive and vital resource for this sector. HBAA hoped that the Chancellor would address this in his Autumn Budget Statement. While £20 million for further education colleges for T levels is good news, we need more investment in hospitality sector training.”
She added that the industry needs to do more to make young people see the sector as a good career opportunity.

She said: “Raising personal allowances and with it, the tax threshold is a step forward, but providing funds to encourage 16 to  19 year olds to train in the sector would have been a helpful initiative.
“While we welcome the review of tourism and APD taxation in Northern Ireland, we’re disappointed that the review doesn’t cover England, Scotland and Wales as well.”

Dale Parmenter, founder and CEO of drp, said: "I think the Chancellor clearly didn’t have a lot of flexibility with ball the political and economic pressures going on at the moment. Our industry is vulnerable to business uncertainty and uncertainty is certainly growing. So we need confidence across our clients to be maintained. More money for housing is a great move as is the infrastructure investment and R&D tax cut, good news for the technology and digital businesses in our industry.

"Not a lot for small and medium businesses in the budget, many of the companies in our sector come under that banner, it’s a missed opportunity, barfing in mind how much revenue our industry brings to the treasury each year. Very little around investment in people, training to encourage growth in the events sector."

The Forum of Private Business has also voiced disappointment at the Chancellor’s lack of support for small businesses in the budget.

The Forum’s MD, Ian Cass, said: “The Chancellor relies on the five million SMEs in the UK to help him balance his books. They bring in over half the country’s revenues and provide huge numbers of jobs in locations where big business is completely absent. Yet, once again, they have lost out to the political agenda.”

The Forum welcomed the potential of a £2.5bn fund to unlock investment in emerging UK businesses, but is concerned that small businesses may find it hard to access this funding.

Adrian Parkes, chief executive of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC), said: “The announcement of a £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund to upgrade regional infrastructure and deliver local transport priorities is welcome news. Businesses outside of London and the south east will reap the benefits of this increased regional investment which will help realise their ambitions for growth. Businesses UK-wide will be further supported by increased investment in 5G mobile networks, fibre broadband and AI, and the plans to improve mobile communications for rail passengers.  
“Whilst this is encouraging to see it is disappointing that the Chancellor has taken a more short-sighted stance on APD with increases to the rates applied to premium economy and business class. For the UK to be a lead player on the global stage UK businesses should be encouraged to travel longer distances to emerging markets. Increasing the standard and higher rates of APD on long-haul builds a very real barrier to business travel and will only serve to discourage UK businesses from developing international trade deals further afield.

“Duty of Care and the wellbeing of employees are high on the agenda of many UK businesses when travelling long distances to secure new deals and economic value for the UK. The government needs to strike a fairer balance in supporting the growth of the UK economy both at home and abroad and should be encouraging trade development, not penalising businesses for travelling to develop new markets and win new customers globally.”

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