UKHospitality (UKH) has criticised the government’s plans to introduce legislation aimed at tackling obesity, which it believes is detrimental to the sector’s recovery.
The trade association is specifically taking aim at plans to introduce calorie counts in restaurant, cafe and bar menus, which were outlined in the Queen’s Speech.
Proposed plans for a consultation on introducing mandatory calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks in the UK have already been confirmed, and free refills of sugary soft drinks in restaurants and bars are set to be banned from 2022.
However, the trade body did praise the government’s commitment to developing vocational training in adult education and building on the existing T Levels, which offer a mix of learning and on-the-job experience.
A catering T Level is set to be introduced in September 2023.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “The last thing the sector needs after prolonged periods of closure and trading restrictions is unnecessary red tape. The majority of operators are in survival mode and their recovery will take many, many months, so creating additional burdens is hugely unhelpful.
“Hospitality businesses share the Government’s objectives in tackling obesity and improving public health, but at a time of huge economic uncertainty these new rules must strike a balance and be proportionate.”
She added: “Layering on new costs for businesses in a sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic risks prolonging their recovery and business’ ability to invest and create jobs.
“We urge the Government to consult meaningfully with the sector via the new Office for Health Promotion on any measures that are included in the Bill.”