King Charles delivered the King’s Speech in his first address as king yesterday (7 November), outlining the government’s priorities for the year ahead.

UKHospitality welcomed the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill – which pledges to strengthen consumer rights online as well as tackle fake reviews – but continues to urge the government to introduce measures to protect businesses.

The existing Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill will deliver Martyn’s law, which would mean UK venues must draw up preventative plans for terrorism.

The speech also mentioned a trade bill that will enable the UK to join the 11-nation CPTPP trade pact with several countries in the Asia and Pacific, with UKHospitality continuing to make the case for Youth Mobility Schemes to be included as part of free trade deals.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The King’s Speech kicks off a crucial session of Parliament for hospitality businesses, at a challenging time for many and with a General Election looming.

“Of the bills outlined by the King today, the carryover of the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill will be important in tackling the scourge of fake reviews. While there is, rightly, a clear focus on consumers, we are continuing to urge the Government to ensure there are measures included to also protect businesses affected.

“Further developments around Martyn’s Law will be especially relevant for hospitality venues. The announcement of a new consultation on the standard tier, for venues with a capacity of 100 to 799 people, is positive and we will continue to make the case for proportionate and practical measures that work effectively for both businesses and their customers.

“With the speech noting the Government’s commitment to pursuing free trade deals, we will continue to make the case for Youth Mobility Schemes to be included as part of those deals and for the Government to pursue stand-alone agreements with appropriate nations.

“The King’s address featured the emphasis on continuing to improve the economic outlook for the nation and our sector continues to look towards the Autumn Statement for action on other critical areas for hospitality businesses.

“Most pressing is the looming rise in business rates next April, which will drop an almost billion-pound bill on the sector. An extension of relief and a freeze in the multiplier is essential for the sector to continue doing what it does best – creating jobs, driving economic growth and investing in communities.”

Meanwhile, the Campaign for Real Ale echoed UKHospitality’s comments on business rates relief, while adding the agenda left out pubs and the wider industry despite unlawful demolitions and conversions, energy supply and pricing issues, and red tape affecting the sector.

CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona commented: “It is disappointing that the Government’s agenda for the coming parliamentary session makes no reference to supporting pubs, brewers, or the wider hospitality industry.

“Earlier this year, in light of the tragic case of the Crooked House in Himley, CAMRA published data showing that potentially unlawful pub demolitions and conversions continue to take place.

“The King’s Speech was an opportunity for the Government to make a firm commitment to pub protection and announce legislation to bolster the planning enforcement tools available to local authorities to deter unscrupulous developers from flouting planning rules.

“Unfortunately, we are still uncertain about whether the Government will act, and they have already ruled out making legislative changes to the Pubs Code, to better balance the relationship between pub companies and their tenants, and to improve consumer choice in the tied pub estate.

“Looking ahead to the Autumn Statement, we hope that the Chancellor will take urgent action on energy supply and pricing issues, business rates relief and cutting red tape preventing draught takeaway sales from taking place. We urge anyone who agrees with us to email their MP using our simple e-lobbying tool at”