UKHospitality has welcomed a report by MPs on the UK’s sharing economy, and has called on the government to provide “a level regulatory playing field” to support hospitality businesses and increase customer safety.
The news follows the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tourism report published on the impact of the sharing economy on the UK tourism industry in Parliament. It acknowledges the need to provide a level legislative playing field, including the need for sharing economy businesses to pay the appropriate level of tax, the need to ensure customer safety, and to recognise the concerns of local communities.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said that while the sharing economy has helped to revitalise and energise tourism around the world there are “serious flaws” that need to be addressed. She said: “This growth is most welcome but, as the report highlights, there are serious flaws with the current system and hospitality businesses are at an unfair disadvantage.
“UKHospitality gave evidence to the Group’s report enquiry to raise this issue, so it is encouraging to see the concerns of the sector acknowledged. The report includes compelling evidence that individuals abuse the system, acting in a commercial manner, profiting while putting customers at risk and undermining other hospitality businesses.
“Hotels, bed and breakfasts and other accommodation providers comply with rigorous checks to ensure safety and they operate within a very strict tax environment. Potentially unsafe accommodation and rogue landlords – effectively operating as businesses and often not paying tax – should not be tolerated, particularly when affordable housing is at such a premium in the UK.”
She added: “We don’t want innovation in the sharing economy to be stifled or customers given fewer choices, only that those businesses be subject to the same checks, balances and taxes as the hospitality sector. Otherwise, unscrupulous businesses will continue to put customers at risk and hospitality businesses will remain at a disadvantage.”