The British Beer and Pub Association and UK Hospitality are “much stronger together,” Emma McClarkin, BBPA CEO told delegates at MCA’s Tenanted Pub Company Summit yesterday.

Ahead of the implementation of the Government’s proposed points-based immigration system and finalisation of Brexit negotiations, McClarkin said that the two bodies were working collaboratively to navigate the upcoming “chaos.”

“There’s room for both of us,” she said, “and Kate Nicholls and I are working very well together, particularly on the tourism sector deal. We’ve been getting that campaign going, gathering the experiences that we have and making sure we hit the right demographic. We’re also working together on the hospitality board, and we recently met with the tourism minister.”

McClarkin said that given the current climate, immigration and labour shortages were major focuses for the body.

According to a recent BBPA survey, 24% of pub employees are from outside the UK, and 17% are from the EU.

“Immigration is a major focus for us right now,” she said. “We need to make sure we get access to the skills, particularly in our kitchens and back of house. We need to know we’re going to have the right people there and that our kitchens don’t all end up being deskilled.”

“Recruitment and retention is massively important and it’s something that we’re looking at in the tourism sector deal.”

Business rates, beer duties and VAT were also mentioned as issues facing the sector, and McClarkin highlighted that pubs pay a disproportionate amount of the total rates bill (2.8%).

To tackle the burden, the BBPA have secured an additional £1,000 pub relief on top of the 50% relief of up to £51,000 rateable value for next year and is also pushing for rates reform.

“Our vision is to deliver a world class sector in British beer and hospitality. It’s an institution in this country and we should be very proud of what it does economically, socially and culturally.”