NEWS FROM THE ALMR Expert Insights


The surprise calling of a snap General Election and the continued instability surrounding Brexit has thrown up a good deal of uncertainty for businesses recently. But while there is uncertainty, there are also some opportunities for businesses in the sector, if we can use the correct tactics to exploit them.


The ALMR has now launched its powerful new Polimapper tool, an online resource aimed at highlighting the economic value, sectoral importance and positive effects of hospitality businesses across the UK.

Kate Nicholls ALMR Chief Executive

The tool was launched at the ALMR’s 25th anniversary conference. It provides a breakdown of the contribution being made by pubs, restaurants and bars in each constituency in England, Scotland and Wales.

One such opportunity is a potential lowering of the rate of VAT for hospitality businesses. As the country withdraws from the EU, the Government will have a greater degree of flexibility on the rates of VAT it charges and the General Election will give us an opportunity to put our case to all the main political parties.

Supporting our argument for a lower rate applied to eating and drinking out businesses will be a recent report published by HOTREC, the European umbrella body for hospitality associations, of which the ALMR is the UK’s representative. The report highlights the positive effects of the various lower rates of VAT for hospitality currently in place across the continent.

Almost all the EU member states apply lower rates of VAT to accommodation and around two-thirds to hospitality services. Europe ranks second in terms of international tourism receipts generating 336.6 billion EUR, second only to Asia

and the Pacific region.

The report states that in order to support growth and continue generating jobs in a sector that created 2.5 million in the last decade, the long-term application of low VAT rates are crucial.

Eating and drinking out venues are exceptional employers and they perform a valuable social function as well as boosting economic growth. Any government that takes the decisive action of cutting VAT for the sector will be sending a powerful message that they are prepared to back businesses and support continued investment in venues and people.

As we approach the General Election, the report will provide powerful evidence in discussions around the effect of VAT on our industry. The ALMR will be leading the charge, making the point to whoever is in charge following the Election and pushing for increased support for our fantastic sector.


Reacting to the publication of the Conservative Party manifesto, the ALMR has welcomed steps to reform rates but warned that any immigration system that includes a tax on jobs will undermine businesses’ ability to invest.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “If businesses are to continue in their growth, and to continue investing in their employees, then we need a migration policy that is more than just a tax on jobs. Increased fees for businesses looking to employ skilled workers from overseas could be facing significant cost increases and this could particularly affect those employers looking abroad for chefs.

“We need a migration system that works, that allows employers’ access to workers and is more than just the taxation of employment. Control of future immigration could be a problem for employers if the target is set prohibitively low, particularly as we are in a position of almost full employment in the UK. Additional costs for businesses will undermine their ability to invest, grow and provide jobs.

“It’s promising to see the Conservative Party mirror thae other main parties and promise a review of business rates, particularly the more frequent revaluations that the ALMR has pushed for, but this may be undermined if employment costs rise.”

Polimapper will be made available to the public and will provide accurate information on a range of issues including site numbers, GVA, employment figures and more. It has been developed, in partnership with CGA Strategy, to help the ALMR communicate with MPs, local governments, regulatory authorities and the media.

ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Those of us who work within licensed hospitality understand what a fantastic contribution pubs, restaurants and bars make across the UK.

“This new resource will be enormously helpful in helping communicate our message to decision-makers, allowing them to understand the economic importance, size and level of investment in the sector.

“With a General Election just weeks away, reminding politicians of the importance of the eating and drinking out sector will be the focus of much of the ALMR’s attention. Polimapper will provide us with another resource for ensuring that pubs and restaurants are at the forefront of the conversation as politicians begin campaigning in earnest”

“It will ensure that pubs, restaurants and bars get the credit they deserve and will provide a better understanding of the sector’s contribution, particularly when restrictive or unhelpful legislation is being proposed.

“The new platform will also allow us to facilitate members’ engagement with their MPs and local authorities to continue the effective grassroots campaigning that was particularly successful on the issue of business rates before the Spring Budget.”

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