Seaside star 28 February 2020 Simon Hulstone, owner of the Elephant in Torquay, on riding the wave of running a Michelin-starred restaurant for 15 years
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The Caterer

What the Tories could do for us

06 January 2010 by
What the Tories could do for us

In another of his regular columns, Peter Hancock, chief executive of luxury hotel marketing consortium Pride of Britain Hotels, looks at the impact the General Election could have on the hospitality industry.

Margaret Thatcher once said: "The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money". Well, in just over 100 days' time a new Government will be formed, with most bookmakers predicting a Conservative majority.

What could this mean for our industry? Unfortunately, the public finances are in such a mess we daren't hope for much assistance. In fact, it seems highly likely that Messrs Cameron and Osborne will have retired long before their dream of a dynamic low-tax economy with manageable debt can be fully realised.

But what could they do for us, even in these difficult times?

First, they could undo some of the legislation that is wrapped around the neck of anyone who seeks to employ people or erect buildings for business use.

Second, they could bring back some of the tax breaks that actively encourage enterprise and which ultimately lead to more VAT, income tax and corporation tax going to the Treasury.

Third, they could introduce the 14-19 hospitality diploma at all schools as a genuine alternative to traditional further education options. This would, at a stroke, raise the status of a job in hospitality and create the pool of talent this vast and ever-changing industry will need in the years to come.

Finally, let us put whatever money the Government can commit to the promotion of tourism in the hands of one body that is able to sell the whole of Britain as a destination, rather than showering a fine mist of cash over countless tourist boards and regional development agencies, all desperately competing against each other.

In the past few years, I have watched entrepreneurs succeed against all the odds by giving their customers what they want and adding value at every turn. They are self-driven and, often, very generous people who simply love what they do. The state can't make such people but it can, and does, hinder them.

This industry is not in the habit of begging. All we have ever wanted from government can be summarised in just four words: stop making things worse.

Read Peter Hancock's blog on Table Talk>>

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