ALMR Press Notice – immediate 04.08.2017
MAC consultation an opportunity for sector engagement
Coinciding with the launch of its call for evidence today, the ALMR has written to the Migration Advisory Committee carrying out the investigation into the benefits of migrant workers in the UK.
The ALMR’s letter highlights the important economic contribution being made by eating and drinking out businesses and the need for access to EU workers in order to secure growth. It also confirms the ALMR’s intention to provide evidence to the MAC’s consultation to secure a deal for eating and drinking out businesses.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls “This is an encouraging first step from the Government and shows that decision-makers are ready to listen to the concerns of employers. Food and drink businesses in the UK are the second largest employer of EU workers and the 5th highest as a percentage of the workforce. It is vital that the Government understands the concerns of the UK’s eating and drinking out businesses and the need for continued access to non-UK workers.
“We have written to the MAC to provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision on an immigration policy that suits employers. We have offered our full support as the voice of eating and drinking out venues and will be responding to the consultation to make sure our members’ voices are heard.
“This is a good opportunity to engage with the Government on an issue that is going to have a huge effect on UK businesses and influence an immigration policy that will have longstanding consequences.”
Government must ditch outdated RPI now
The ALMR has echoed the Office for National Statistics’ sentiments about the unsuitability of using RPI as a measure of inflation and called on the Government bring forward its 2020 switch to CPI for business rates to help reduce burdens for eating and drinking out businesses.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR has repeatedly called for the introduction of CPI for businesses rates and a move away from the current, unworkable system. The Government’s own statistics body agrees that the current system of using RPI is totally discredited and only increases costs on employers.
“The Government’s plan to switch to CPI in 2020 is not soon enough and, given the statements of the ONS and spiralling rates costs for businesses, must take action immediately. We need a move from RPI to CPI in this Parliament in order to support hardworking businesses and eradicate unmerited and unaffordable cost burdens that are stifling investment and employment.
“The move would save eating and drinking out businesses £40 million and would help facilitate discussion between the sector and service providers such as PPL and PRS.
“This simple switch could help minimise inflationary pressures in the supply chain at a time of considerable economic and political uncertainty for the UK.
“This statement by the ONS, that RPI is unfit for purpose, validates what we have been saying to the Government for years. We need action by the Government now, not in 2020, if eating and drinking out venues are to continue to grow.”
ALMR Chief Executive joins Night Time Commission as London focuses on a 24 hour vision
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of the ALMR, has accepted a Mayoral invitation to take a seat on London’s Night Time Commission, providing a voice for eating and drinking out on a body established by Mayor Sadiq Khan to establish London as one of the world’s best 24-hour cities.
The invitation came in the same week that the Mayor published his own vision for night time London and the ALMR submitted its views to a GLA consultation on the Night Time Economy (NTE). The submission highlights key asks to improve licensing, partnership working, promoting economic growth, planning and the regulatory approach, while again calling for local authorities to expedite business rates support as soon as possible, and to prioritise this sector.
On her appointment to the Night Time Commission, Nicholls said: “Representation on the Commission demonstrates the Mayor’s recognition of the significant value that the eating and drinking out sector brings to London’s Night Time Economy.
“There are 11,000 pubs, bars, restaurants and nightclubs across the capital, employing 217,000 people, and adding £5 billion to London’s economy each year. Night time hospitality accounts for 97,000 night-time jobs in London, and the GLA’s own benefit analysis show shows that for every £1 of cost, the NTE generated £8 of benefit, with that rising to more than £20 in central London boroughs.
“With a voice on the Night Time Commission, the sector will be at the heart of conversations about promoting the city, its businesses and cultural offerings, and ensuring that local authorities, residents and businesses can work in partnership to help the city thrive.”
Hackney levy disastrous for area
The ALMR has warned that Hackney Borough Council’s decision to introduce a late-night levy is likely to have a disastrous effect on the area’s bars, nightclubs and pubs.
Hackney Borough Council voted last night in favour of a levy that will be introduced on 1 November.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is an extremely retrograde action by the Council, one that will heap costs on vital businesses in the area and is likely to have a disastrous effect for employers who provide so much.
“Clubs, bars and other late-night venues in Hackney contribute enormously socially and economically, and help make Hackney the vibrant and attractive place it is. Heaping costs on them is only going to risk driving them out of business. Dance Tunnel, a much-loved venue in the area, was forced to close its doors recently due to spiralling costs and a tough legislative environment. This move by the Council only risks closure of even more venues.
“This is particularly disappointing given the recent common sense shown by Gloucester Council in its decision not to introduce a late-night levy and the House of Lords Licensing Committee’s recommendation that the levy be scrapped. Hackney Council is risking investment and employment in the area and the erosion of the vibrant night-time economy.”
Government report must provide swift clarity
The ALMR has welcomed the Government’s plan to assess the economic contribution of EU migrants, but warned that clarity for businesses is overdue.
The Government is to commission the independent Migration Advisory Committee to carry out a detailed analysis of the economic and social contributions and costs of EU citizens in Britain.
The report is the first major investigation into migration from the EU and will inform the Government’s new immigration system.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “A detailed investigation into the benefits of migration and the various differing needs of regions and sectors is a positive step from the Government.
“It is absolutely vital that we have in place a system that is not burdensome, costly or overly bureaucratic and provides employers with access to employees. A report that understands and appreciates the value of, and need for, migrant workers should be a benefit.
“It would, however, have been useful if the Government had set about this task immediately after the referendum. Extra time for the Government to assess overall picture and for businesses to plan would have provided much-needed certainty and clarity.
“The ALMR has been highlighting this issue for a year and pressing the Government for a proper examination of this issue since the referendum. We will continue to do so, to ensure that no burdensome requirements are made of eating and drinking out businesses during the short period between the report’s publication and Brexit.”