UKHospitality has warned a no deal Brexit would be “dreadful” for the industry after Theresa May’s deal was rejected by MPs last night.
MPs voted against the prime minister’s deal by 149 votes – which is a smaller margin in comparison to January’s outcome regarding the UK’s EU withdrawal, at 230.
With only 17 days left until Brexit, the trade body which represents over 700 companies that employ 3.2 million people in the UK has expressed its fears.
UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The hospitality sector has historically proven resilient and innovative, but the unprecedented confusion and uncertainty since the referendum has provided stern tests with no relief seemingly in sight.
“A no deal Brexit would be dreadful news for the sector and many businesses will face serious disruption if we crash out without a deal. Parliament needs to move to rule out such an outcome and then act swiftly and decisively to ensure we avoid it.”
Hospitality is the third largest private sector employer in the UK and represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP.
The sector also creates £130bn in economic activity and generates £38bn of tax for the Exchequer, funding vital services.
Nicholls added: “In the meantime, and at the very least, all other business needs to be put on hold as a matter of urgency. We need to devote our time to addressing the challenges a no deal Brexit is inevitably going to produce and there just is no option of doing business as usual.”
UKHospitality is the new trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, established following a merger approved in February 2018 between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA).