The General Election will have been and gone by the close of the week. This means that next week, one – or probably a group – of parties will find themselves in power, enabling them to influence the future of leisure property and hospitality in London and the UK. In this article, we analyse the offerings of each of the main parties. We have ordered the parties alphabetically to avoid political bias.
The Conservatives’ manifesto is broadly about getting people into work. They will introduce 3 million new apprenticeships, many of which will be in the restaurant and hospitality industries.
Furthermore, they have planned for a £1bn brownfield regeneration programme spread over the next 4 years, encouraging commercial leisure property development in new areas around London.
The Tories have also promised their 2% cap on business rates will continue into the next government. In addition, they plan to launch a full enquiry into business rates post-election; this pledge is backed by Conservatives and Lib Dems alike. David Cameron has not guaranteed to cap the rate of VAT.
The Green Party has committed to removing the National Planning Policy Framework, instead prioritising brown field site building that could create new leisure property spaces in the Capital.
The Greens have agreed to support the BHA’s campaign to cut Tourism VAT from 20 to 5% which will have a significant impact on the restaurant industry.
The Green Party would phase out the existing VAT system and replace it – over time – with a system of environmental tax measures. Moreover, they aim to introduce the living wage as the minimum wage, making it £10 per hour by 2020, and they would also ban zero-hours contracts.
No Labour government has ever put up the rate of VAT, and Ed Miliband has confirmed this to be the case this time. Similarly, Labour have committed to cutting and freezing the business rates for 1.5 million small businesses.
For the pub market specifically, Labour are calling for an official statutory pub code, providing pub tenants the protection they need to fight large pub operations. In addition, they will raise the minimum wage to £8 per hour by 2020, as well as provide corporations that pay their employees a living wage valuable tax breaks.
Finally, Labour will ban exploitative zero-hours contracts with new rights for workers.
The Liberal Democrats will build more than ten new Garden Cities around London, creating whole new leisure markets and areas for leisure property investment. Furthermore, they will prioritise building on brownfield sites, creating new opportunities for leisure property builders and investors.
Unlike labour, the Lib Dems have not set a target for raising the minimum wage, but they have pledged to look at it in a way that does not impact employment opportunities.
In terms of zero hours contracts, the Lib Dems recognise that some employers and employees in the hospitality and restaurant industries value flexibility.
However, they will introduce a new “exclusivity contract” that gives employees the right to ask for a fixed-hours contract. Finally, the Lib Dems have committed to strengthening the Hospitality and Tourism Council, appointing the Business and Culture Secretaries as co-chairs, which will impact the restaurant industry by proxy.
The UK Independence Party is committed to a referendum on Europe which will limit immigration to those with the desired skills. Preference would also be given to those from Commonwealth nations. In addition, it is commonly known that UKIP would reintroduce smoking in pubs, which they claim, would draw lapsed smokers back.
Regardless of who enters 10 Downing Street after the election, do not let changes in policy catch you off guard if you are looking to buy or sell your restaurant property in London. Contact one of our experienced agents today.
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