Chancellor Jeremy Hunt may have played to the audience with his ‘Big Budget’, but it was in fact utter silence on any real support for the hospitality sector. This is a significant worry, according to Westside business leader MIKE OLLEY.
I would suggest that Hunt’s big budget is safe enough to keep Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister for a while longer. Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget demolished Liz Truss, from the UK PM to back bench MP, in record time. Goodness, just imagine what dystopian society we would all be now embracing if Kwasi had undertaken a big, full-on budget?
Hunt was always going to take a safer approach. Nothing radical. He is still building up a virtuous war chest. Helped by a sounder money supply, surprisingly higher general taxation receipts, and of course the “wanting to get elected again money”. That, naturally, was only ever going to be dispensed closer to the next general election. Watch and listen to this vlog here:
In this week’s budget, we saw the price of a pint held with a little stale joke from Hunt. “British Ale is warm, but the duty on beer is frozen…”. Oh dear. Some would argue politicians like Hunt don’t need to make jokes, that is traditionally accomplished by other approaches.
Sadly, despite the big welcome to freeze beer prices, hospitality will nevertheless be hit. A savage slow burn, a desperately painful tax hike, as alcohol duty is now set to rise with inflation. If only that had applied to our salaries over the last few years!
But what is a significant worry for our precious hospitality sector is the utter silence from Hunt on sectoral support for hospitality. I can only imagine Hunt was so pleased with his little “beer frozen” joke, he felt any substance on or around hospitality wasn’t needed.
That’s not great for confidence. We get the need for a cautious approach. We are aware of the need for the Chancellor to be focussed on his party’s general election prospects. However, hospitality is substantially a British industry. Local products, manufactured, and consumed by hard-pressed Britons. Most burgers and beer made in, and consumed within, the UK. A truly virtuous “Made in Britain” delight.
I’d rather chancellor Hunt was lighter on jokes and focussed more on substance.