The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has attacked the Government for failing to comprehend the impact food inflation is having on hospitality and tourism.
Speaking at its 101st annual luncheon at the Grosvenor House hotel in London today, BHA chief executive Bob Cotton said food inflation was driving up prices and squeezing margins "more than ever before".
He slammed the chancellor for hosting a clandestine meeting with food retailers and the National Farmers Union recently to discuss food price inflation, but failing to invite representatives from the hospitality industry.
"Does the Government not realise that more food is consumed out of the home than in it? Does the chancellor not realise that food price inflation is affecting restaurants and hospitals, schools and businesses just as much as the consumer?"
Cotton also called on the industry to back the Tourism Alliance's Lets Take Tourism Seriously campaign, and lobby Whitehall to recognise tourism's economic importance.
"We need a fiscal and regulatory regime that supports rather than hinders the industry, that encourages its growth rather than shackling it by higher costs and new and ever more restrictive regulation," he said.
The BHA estimates that tourism and leisure is worth over £100b to the UK economy, employs more than two million and is currently investing £3b in new facilities, extensions and refurbishments.
Cotton said that the key challenge of the coming year was to ensure that these levels of investment were maintained, not restricted, by government.
By Christopher Walton
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