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Government fails to regulate Airbnb, says Premier Inn boss

13 November 2015 by

Start-up technology companies such as Airbnb are not following the same regulations as established players, according to the outgoing boss of Whitbread.

Andy Harrison, chief executive of Premier Inn's parent company, said the government was giving start-up technology companies an unfair advantage with relaxed rules.

Speaking at the annual conference of the CBI, Harrison said: "The government is not keeping up with the pace of change of technology," as reported by The Times.

He claimed that 40% of Airbnb users list multiple properties on the site.

"These are probably professional landlords," he said. "How does the government or Airbnb know that these landlords are complying with all the same laws that we are, whether it's health and safety, consumer protection or paying their taxes?"

But James McClure, general manager of Airbnb for the UK and Ireland, said the company had "very good discussions" with HM Revenue & Customs.

He indicated that it was the responsibility of the landlords to pay the right amount of tax and suggested that Airbnb send reminders to all of its landlords.

Harrison said he had written to the government about the matter.

"We are not looking for any special favours. We just want to make sure regulation keeps up with technology and there is a level playing field," he said. "There are no signs that Airbnb has damaged our business, but we are watching carefully."

Banking boss to succeed Andy Harrison as Whitbread CEO >>Andy Harrison to retire as Whitbread chief executive >>Premier Inn unveils £25m advertising campaign >>Looking for a job? See all the current hotel vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>

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