New government business council excludes hospitality businesses

25 July, 2023

The government has inaugurated a new business council aimed at gathering insights from sector leaders, but the council did not include a representative from the hospitality industry.

On 19th July, Rishi Sunak convened a meeting with 14 chief executives from prominent companies such as AstraZeneca, NatWest Group, Aviva, Barclays, Shell and Vodafone with one individual from Diageo (the company behind renowned brands like Guinness and Smirnoff, and Sainsbury's) representing the food and drink sector.

A government spokesperson confirmed that this new council replaced the 2022 business council established by former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, which included Alison Brittain CBE, the then chief executive of Whitbread.

Almost all council members head FTSE 100-listed companies, with the exception of Demis Hassabis, the CEO of artificial intelligence firm Google DeepMind.

According to a government statement, this council aims to provide the Prime Minister with a "real world perspective on how the current economic climate is impacting businesses."

Nonetheless, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) criticised the council's focus on larger corporations, insisting that smaller enterprises deserve a voice in the discussions.

It's worth noting that the meeting did not include trade bodies, and UKHospitality expressed that it continues to liaise with ministers on behalf of the hospitality sector.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said:

“As the leading trade body for hospitality, UKHospitality continues to represent its members at the highest levels of government.

[Yesterday], we were able to attend a reception in 10 Downing Street for business groups and that follows the Hospitality Sector Council [on Monday] with the Hospitality Minister.

With the new Business Council focused on FTSE 100 companies, UKHospitality remains the united voice for the sector engaging with the prime minister’s office and relevant government departments.”

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