Ufi Ibrahim, the chief executive of the British Hospitality Association said: "With UK unemployment at its lowest since 1975 it is crucial that the UK continues to have access to European workers after Brexit. Hospitality and tourism is the fourth largest industry in the UK employing 4.6 million people, and since 2010 has created 1 in 5 new jobs. New research by Ignite Economics predicts that over 500,000 new jobs could be created in the industry over the next five years, but shows that the growth outlook is highly uncertain, given the pressures of falling real living standards, the costs of implementing the National Living Wage, increases in business rates and the potential lack of labour following exit from the EU.
"To ensure the industry’s growth isn’t jeopardised the BHA is calling on the Government to address the serious economic concerns facing businesses across the UK. We need the Government to step up and support our industry by reducing tourism VAT, working with us to reduce the dependence on EU workers and increase the number of UK workers joining the hospitality industry, allowing the Low Pay Commission to set the National Living Wage and to bring forward a fundamental review of Business Rates.
"We are calling for a ten-year phased approach to help reduce dependency on workers from the EU, allowing time for the recruitment of UK workers and have submitted our strategy to Number 10. The strategy focuses on three main sections of the populations – the unemployed, returners to the labour market such as older people, and the next generation. So far our industry has delivered 67,000 apprenticeships, work experiences, and career opportunities through the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation for Britain’s young people."