Campaign fights on for a minister for hospitality, despite Boris Johnson’s reservations

Boris Johnson has seemingly rebuffed calls to install a dedicated hospitality minister despite a robust campaign from the industry.

Claire Bosi, editor of Chef & Restaurant magazine, started the #SeatAtTheTable campaign last year and saw backing from the likes of Angela Hartnett and Tom Kerridge, as well as more than 200,000 members of the public.

And us at Harden’s.

But the Prime Minister has downplayed the need for the position and instead said the focus should be on rolling out the vaccine so businesses can reopen.

He told MPs: “You’re right to identify the particular troubles of the hospitality sector, they’ve been through a very, very difficult time. We’re doing everything we can to support them. And the chancellor, the business secretary and I meet regularly with that representatives of sector.

“We’ve given them all the grants, the recent increase in grants, the recent £3,000 grants specifically for the hospitality sector, on top of the CBILS and the bounceback loans, the furlough scheme and many, many other forms of support.

“But the best thing for the hospitality sector is really that we work together to defeat the virus, in a way that I’m absolutely certain we can, with disciplined action and the vaccine rollout and get them back on their feet, and I’m sure that’s the best thing for them.”

Not exactly committal! Boris knows what’s best for us… why are we even worried!?

The Labour MP for Newcastle North Catherine McKinnell, who chaired a debate on Monday after which committee members spoke in support of creating the post, called on the prime minister yesterday to meet with petitioners “to fully understand the diverse nature of this sector and get things right for this industry through this crisis and beyond”.

McKinnell said she would follow up the request with a letter, adding that “it is in his government’s interest so they can get things right for this vital sector”.

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