Leading trade associations BHA and ALMR to merge as UKHospitality

23/01/2018 - 10:26
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) have announced plans to merge together and create a ‘powerful new voice’ for Britain’s hospitality businesses, under the name UKHospitality.

The decision from two of the UK’s leading trade associations to poll resources has been made to create a “strong single voice” for the sector and create a ‘powerful platform for change’, according to Casual Dining Group chief executive Steve Richards, who is in line to become deputy chair of the new organisation.

Richards will be joined in the senior management team by ALMR chief, Kate Nicholls, who has been made chief executive officer-elect, and by current head of Merlin Entertainments Plc, Nick Varney, who is set to be elected chair of the new group.

The proposed board would include, among others, Wendy Bartlett of Bartlett Mitchell, Steve Cassidy of Hilton, Bob Ivell of Mitchells & Butlers, Peter Marks of The Deltic Group, Robin Rowland of YO! Sushi and Damian Walsh of CGA.

The new body will consist of different policy groups for different sectors, with Rowland set to chair the restaurant group, Ivell to chair the pub group and Marks to lead the late-night group.

UKHospitality says its objective will be to deliver much-needed policies to help the sector secure that opportunity, and would drive employment and innovation, and support entrepreneurs.

The proposed merger has been recommended to members and will be voted on in February.

Announcing the proposals, Nicholls said: “This sector is a vital, dynamic economic powerhouse whose importance is clear in our communities, our high streets and our everyday lives.

“It is one of our fastest growing, most productive industries and last year it delivered one in eight of all new jobs.

“Faced with unprecedented political and regulatory pressures, now more than ever it requires the strongest and most effective voice within government.

“UKHospitality will be that vital voice and I am relishing the prospect of working with members to deliver both strong and connected relationships with government and a shared ambition to reshape the future of hospitality.”

Key headlines from this transformational collaboration include:

• The new body will bring together businesses from all aspects of hospitality; coffee shops, hotels, pubs, restaurants, leisure parks, nightclubs, contract caterers, entertainment and visitor attractions

• UKHospitality will actively speak for these combined industries on the big strategic, structural and regulatory issues and deliver policies to support its strong growth trajectory

• The sector generates £38bn of tax for the Exchequer, funding vital services

• Hospitality represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP

• Hospitality is the 3rd largest private sector employer in the UK; double the size of financial services and bigger than automotive, pharmaceuticals and aerospace combined

• The sector is calling for a dedicated Minister to champion the industry at home and abroad and a sector deal, brokered with government, to support skills and productivity

Alongside the merger proposals, the two bodies have released new figures emphasising what they say is the size, scale and importance of the sector and its continued potential for growth.

They forecast that the sector will grow by 4.3% generating 19,000 additional jobs by 2020.

“Hospitality is a prosperous and vibrant sector with great potential for further growth if the right policies are in place and a single, strong trade association will be ideally positioned to provide that support," said Varney.

“We are calling for a new ministerial champion and sector deal enabling the hospitality sector to invest in world-class careers and customer experiences.”



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