Queen's Speech: hospitality welcomes skills promise but questions obesity measures

11 May 2021 by
Queen's Speech: hospitality welcomes skills promise but questions obesity measures

The government's promise to focus on jobs, skills and training in the Queen's Speech has been hailed as a positive for the hospitality industry.

Boris Johnson has set out his agenda for the coming year with a focus on a "national recovery" from the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes developing vocational training in post-16 and adult education and building on the existing T Levels, which offer a mix of learning and on-the-job experience. A catering T Level is due to launch in September 2023.

Employers will have a role in planning publicly funded training with education providers as part of a new ‘Skills Accelerator' programme.

The government will also be given more powers to intervene in colleges that fail to meet local needs.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said a focus on in-work training and adult education was "critical".

"Hospitality can provide rewarding, dynamic careers but achieving those heights does require training and upskilling, so the measures announced today can make a real difference to thousands of our workforce as they return to work," said Nicholls.

The government is also set to introduce legislation aimed at tackling obesity, although it did not provide further details.

Plans for a consultation on introducing mandatory calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks in the UK have already been confirmed, and free refills of sugary soft drinks in restaurants and bars are set to be banned from 2022.

Nicholls called on ministers to work with the hospitality industry on health issues and other legislative areas concerning planning, public procurement, employer NIC relief and subsidy controls.

She added: "Hospitality shares the government's objectives in tackling obesity. However, there are flaws and risks in some of the approaches that government could take, so we would urge close and meaningful consultation with businesses, in order to produce proportionate, informed and well-considered legislation."

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