What are you talking about?
The new Prime Minister @trussliz. Not @liztruss, although some believe the woman who delighted the Twitterverse with her humorous responses to misdirected tweets might be better suited for the top job. We particularly liked his response to a tweet accusing him of having snubbed his rival of the candidate for the leadership of the conservatives Rishi Sunak by not shaking his hand before his victory speech: “Sorry, I was at Nando’s”.
What’s the real Liz Truss’ first to-do list?
Soaring energy bills, both commercially and domestically, are the most pressing issue, which it addressed earlier this week in the form of a six-month energy support package that would amount to a price cap household energy. Details are still scarce on what exactly that cap will be, but Truss at least acknowledged that the hospitality and pubs sectors were ‘vulnerable’ and that there would be further consideration of what might be offered. more to be released within the next three months. More worryingly, perhaps, Truss also told businesses that it’s up to them to reduce their energy costs, saying, “Companies that can afford it must look for ways to improve energy efficiency and increase the direct production of energy.” That’s not quite telling businesses to buy a new kettle, but it’s close.
How has the industry reacted to this?
Better than a kick in the teeth is probably the best way to describe it. While larger businesses that have successfully locked in their energy costs for a few more years might not feel the benefits as much, this move will undoubtedly help many smaller businesses that have not, at least in the short term. . Boosted consumer confidence that they might not freeze this winter will also help hospitality as the generally – and hopefully – lucrative Christmas season approaches.
And the trades?
The usual “welcome, but…” message has come from parts of the industry that continue to pressure Truss to do more for hospitality. Although Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, didn’t mince words when he said “the government has caused businesses to fail.”
A difficult start. What else is she supposed to do?
Truss is reportedly planning £30billion in tax cuts which could be good news for restaurants in the short term as it will increase people’s purchasing power. However, critics – including Sunak – say the tax cuts could fuel inflation and would only provide a “sugar rush” in the short term.
What about VAT?
Some of Truss’s allies are urging her to cut VAT and rumor has it that she was considering reducing the tax across the board by at least 5% – which would save the average household £1,300 a year and reduce inflation by 2 percentage points if the temporary cuts were maintained for a year. The move would be welcomed by the industry, which has been advocating for a permanent reduction in hospitality VAT for many years – as have many other countries, including France.
What do we know about his new cabinet?
Almost every new face will make the decisions that are likely to have the biggest impact on the industry. Kwasi Kwarteng holds the country’s purse strings as Chancellor, Chloe Smith is Work and Pensions Secretary while as Home Secretary Suella Braverman will have the pressing hospitality question of whether the EU nationals can come and help fill staffing gaps under his tenure (spoiler alert: his stance on immigration makes Priti Patel look like Ma Larkin). Then there’s Edwardian Jacob Rees-Mogg, the new business and energy minister who is a fan of ‘traditional English cooking’, dislikes spices and is ideologically opposed to vegan restaurants. It’s progressive.
What is Truss’ voting record?
Truss is something of a political shapeshifter. She was once a Lib Dem opposed to the monarchy and more recently backed the Remain campaign in the Brexit vote. However, people are changing and she is now the standard bearer for the Eurosceptic right wing of the Conservative Party. In general, Truss is a fan of state cuts and tax cuts, but she has repeatedly voted to raise the liquor tax.
Do we know anything about his eating habits?
She has expensive tastes. When she was trade secretary, she drew criticism from some for insisting that the private club at 5 Hertford Street, owned by Tory donors, meet with Joe Biden’s trade representative. A receipt showed his party of eight had consumed two bottles of gin, three bottles of £153 albarino and two bottles of £130 Chateau de Beaucastel. A recent speech showed she also had more modest tastes, championing British cheese, Cornish sardines, Melton Mowbray pork pies and black pudding. How she eats a burger will be the real test, though.
This article was written before the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.