Hospitality firms excluded from new government business council

19 July 2023 by
Hospitality firms excluded from new government business council

The prime minister has launched a new business council to hear the thoughts of sector leaders – but failed to include a hospitality representative.

A group of 14 chief executives from companies including AstraZeneca, NatWest Group, Aviva, Barclays, Shell, and Vodafone met with Rishi Sunak on Tuesday (19 July).

The only members from the food and drink sector were Diageo, which is behind brands including Guinness and Smirnoff, and Sainsbury's.

A No 10 spokesperson confirmed the new group had replaced the 2022 business council set up by former prime minister Boris Johnson, which included then Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain.

All but one of the council members run FTSE 100-listed companies, with the exception being Demis Hassabis, the boss of artificial intelligence firm Google DeepMind.

A government announcement said the council would offer the prime minister "a real world perspective on how the current economic climate is impacting businesses".

However, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) criticised the focus on large companies and said smaller firms deserved a seat around the table.

The meeting did not include trade bodies and UKHospitality told The Caterer it continued to meet with ministers on behalf of the sector.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "As the leading trade body for hospitality, UKHospitality continues to represent its members at the highest levels of government.

"[Yesterday], we were able to attend a reception in 10 Downing Street for business groups and that follows the Hospitality Sector Council [on Monday] with the Hospitality Minister.

"With the new Business Council focused on FTSE 100 companies, UKHospitality remains the united voice for the sector engaging with the prime minister's office and relevant government departments."

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