The British Hospitality Association has confirmed rumours that it is talking to the Restaurant Association about a possible merger.

The BHA said: "Discussions are in hand between the Restaurant Association and the British Hospitality Association to examine ways in which the two associations can work together. If successful, we hope that these discussions can be concluded by the end of the year."

It is believed that if the deal goes ahead, the BHA and the Restaurant Association will remain as separate entities although some central administration services may be amalgamated.