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Leading Chefs and 200,000+ More Back Hospitality Ahead of Vital Debate in Parliament

Angela Hartnett on Westminster Bridge with the Seat At The Table petition, containing more than 200,000 signatures, ahead of today’s (Monday, 11th January) debate

TV chef Angela Hartnett is spearheading a new campaign to help champion millions of hospitality workers hard hit by the pandemic.

Alongside a glut of fellow chefs like Tom Kerridge and Jason Atherton, the Murano chef-owner is campaigning for hospitality to be given a proper seat at the government table.

The famous foodies are among more than 200,000 people that have signed a petition #SeatAtTheTable calling for PM Boris Johnson to appoint a Hospitality Minister. The issue will be debated in Parliament today (Monday, 11th January) at 4.30pm.

Leading chefs, owners and hospitality workers argue a top government minister can help the UK bounce back strongly by harnessing the economic power of brilliant British pubs and restaurants when they reopen. Unlike other leading industries such as manufacturing, retail and aviation, hospitality does not have a dedicated minister.

Hospitality has been ravaged by the coronavirus crisis.

Latest industry figures suggest more than 600,000 jobs have been lost in hospitality through the crisis, since it began in March 2020. Before the pandemic, over three million people worked in hospitality, which pays more than £40bn in tax each year.

The petition will be debated in Parliament on Monday (11 Jan). Before the pandemic, over three million people worked in hospitality, which pays more than £40bn in tax each year, but has been ravaged by the coronavirus crisis.

Campaign champion Angela Hartnett, who has appeared on a wide variety of cooking shows, from Hell’s Kitchen to MasterChef UK, said: “Hospitality is the third biggest employer in the UK and deserves a seat at the top table. We need a hospitality hero in government to speak up for the local pubs, coffee shops and restaurants. Someone who understands our businesses and how we work.

“This is about helping us to help the country get back on its feet. We can’t wait to welcome people back to our bars and dining rooms but we need the government to protect our businesses and these jobs to ensure we are there when this is over.

“The pandemic has shown hospitality is a major economic and social force and we need proper representation in government to fight our corner. Industries like manufacturing, retail and aviation all have a dedicated minister and we need that seat at the table. It’s wrong that we don’t have our own minister given the size and scale of hospitality and how important it is in providing jobs and public funding for vital services.

“Now the vaccine is here, we want to help the country come roaring back and also to get our venues open, to do what we do best and look after people and give them a great time. And in doing so, this industry will generate millions in tax to repair the public coffers and pay for vital services like the NHS and social care. But we need help to do it.”

Alongside Hartnett and Kerridge, the campaign is being driven by chefs, restaurant owners and trade organisation UKHospitality, and was the brainchild of boutique hotel group the Pig founder Robin Hutson and industry magazine editor Claire Bosi, with support from countless other high-profile chefs and venues.

Videos of support are being added daily via the campaigns social channels on Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter, and more information is available at a dedicated campaign website.


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