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London was voted best place to work – but play matters too

This time next week, London will be voting for its Mayor. It has not been a vintage campaign but perhaps the negativity apparent across the political spectrum may soon give way to some optimism about the capital’s prospects.

A closely watched annual survey pegged London as, again, the best place to work. And indeed play. 

That “play” is vital to our competitiveness; the only people who genuinely feared that post-Brexit bankers would up sticks for Frankfurt had clearly never been to Frankfurt. One cannot dance and dine and drink like one can in London.

But our hospitality industry is under threat. The immigration system seems almost specifically designed to make it harder for youngsters in the industry to come, and stay, here. Business rates are a poor method of taxation, and the system is administered poorly. Strikes on busy days have been a constant for months, despite the unions claiming that they’re on the side of the working man or woman.

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The next mayor and indeed next government must cut out hospitality businesses a break: reducing taxation, easing the regulatory burden and creating new incentives allowing councils to disregard complaints from residents who are long pre-dated by entertainment hotspots.

Our hospitality industry is genuinely world-leading, but it will need help to stay there.