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John Whittingdale announced as culture secretary in new Tory government

John Whittingdale announced as culture secretary in new Tory government

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced John Whittingdale as culture, media and sport secretary in his first cabinet reshuffle as the head of a Conservative majority government.

Whittingdale's appointment has been well received, with Tourism Alliance director Kurt Janson describing him as a long-term advocate for the sector with a good understanding of the industry, citing his past role as chairman of the Commons' culture select committee.

"With the recent release of the committee's inquiry into tourism, we would hope that the recommendations form the basis for his approach to his new remit and we look forward to working with him on the implementation of the report's recommendations," added Janson.

Whittingdale will take up the role previously held by Sajid Javid, who has been made business secretary, while a further announcement about who would be the new tourism minister was yet to be made.

The decisive end to last week's general election was welcomed as good news for the hospitality industry following weeks of speculation.

All polls leading up to 7 May suggested it would be a tight race, leading to fears of a hung parliament, which the majority of hospitality chief executives, polled by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said could negatively impact business.

One CEO polled said that "no real result" was as bad as the "wrong result". But with a decisive outcome, the BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said there was now "no room for excuses.

"The hospitality and tourism industry expects the new Conservative Government to start delivering from day one," she said.

"Our top agenda item for the prime minister and the chancellor is to cut tourism VAT to 5%, which could massively boost jobs, bring billions of new revenue to the Treasury and directly improve the livelihoods of people in struggling communities across the UK.

"Let's hope consumers are the winners in the final result and can look forward to the benefits of an increasingly healthy economy."

Meanwhile, Luke Johnson, restaurant investor and chairman of Risk Capital Partners, wrote in his column in The Sunday Times that the Tory win was a boon for entrepreneurs.

"The electorate rejected the left-wing policies of Ed Miliband and chose free enterprise instead," he said.

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