MP Uses Local Examples in Commons Hospitality Debate

James Murray cites the Black Horse and the Cinnamon Café

The Black Horse in Greenford is one of the casualties of a challenging trading environment for hospitality
The Black Horse in Greenford is one of the casualties of a challenging trading environment for hospitality

February 7, 2024

An Ealing MP used the examples of two local hospitality venues in a parliamentary debate to demonstrate the struggles and successes currently being experienced by the industry.

James Murray, who represents Ealing North, was participating in a discussion about the sector last Wednesday (31 January).

The Commons was considering fiscal support for the hospitality sector, and Mr Murray was attending in his role as Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury.

He cited Cinnamon Café and the Black Horse pub in Greenford as examples of the challenges faced by an industry combatting high inflation, staff shortages, rising rents and the burden of business rates. He also pointed out that their customers have less money to spend as wages have flatlined and taxes continue to rise.

He told MPs in the House, “It is hard to imagine Pitshanger Lane without Cinnamon café, where I first went with my grandparents many years ago. I thank the café for its excellent coffee and sandwiches, which keep me sustained and happy whenever I pop in as a customer.”

He raised the example of the Black Horse in Greenford as an example of the often insuperable challenges that pubs faced, saying that “one of my favourite pubs, the Black Horse… sadly closed just over a year ago. It is such a deep shame to see it boarded up whenever I walk or drive past. It is a sad reminder of the struggle that many hospitality venues face and of the real loss that local communities can feel when they close.”

James Murray (second from right) with Black Horse customers before the closure
James Murray (second from right) with Black Horse customers before the closure

He added that Labour party analysis had shown that 6,000 pubs had closed since 2010 and he accused the government of reneging on its manifesto commitment for a fundamental review of the business rates system. He told the House that his party would scrap and replace business rates to shift the burden away from hospitality and retail businesses on the high street which is currently greater than those operating currently in the digital sphere.

Nigel Huddleston, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, responding on behalf of the government said, “The government have recognised how vital the sector is and have been absolutely committed to it. It rightly received the immense support that it needed during the pandemic, including through the culture recovery fund to help music and heritage. So many sectors contribute to our tourism and hospitality. If we had not made those interventions during the pandemic, many businesses that are here today would otherwise not be. Ongoing asks during the period of recovery, when we need to start paying back that £350 billion, are very difficult because there would be massive consequences for taxpayers and the whole of the economy. I understand the challenges, but I think everybody recognises that every one of those asks comes at a cost.”

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