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Third of businesses to reduce opening hours over Christmas

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

New data from UKHospitality, in partnership with CGA by NielsenIQ, in its latest Future Shock report also shows the toll labour shortages have taken on business confidence, with 60% of business leaders no longer confident about recruitment.

The 12th edition of Future Shock is focused on ‘Shaping the workforce of the future’ and also reveals that more than a third of businesses (35%) plan to simplify menus, 32% have been forced to reduce their opening hours and 13% have reduced opening days, all because of staffing shortages. UKHospitality is calling on the Government to implement a ‘two-phase’ approach to tackle the issue, with changes to the immigration system and reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy. In particular:

  • Expanding the Youth Mobility Scheme to include EU member states

  • Reviewing the Shortage Occupation List to accurately reflect the state of the labour market

  • Abolishing the Immigration Skills Charge, a punitive measure that is an additional charge on top of other visa requirements and deters would-be applicants

  • Reform of the Apprenticeship Levy to include a proportion of funds being made eligible for use on non-apprenticeship training and improving the operation of apprenticeship system

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This edition of Future Shock is incredibly timely because workforce challenges have unfortunately become a fixture for hospitality businesses. We are facing a systemic problem that has persisted for years and it needs urgent attention from Government. The statistics in the report lay bare the real life impact on businesses and consumers as a result of not having enough staff. It’s so disappointing that businesses are having to go to such lengths such as simplifying menus and reducing trading hours to deal with this. It’s also doing the consumer a disservice, limiting choice and availability. “There are very simple measures available to the Government that can free up the immigration system and make a huge difference to business. Expanding the Youth Mobility Scheme to the EU27, for example, would do wonders to add good numbers of people to the available labour pool. “Implementing these measures, alongside reform of the Apprenticeship Levy to best develop our own talent, would help hospitality businesses no end. With the right staffing resource, hospitality can really drive growth, offer customers an enhanced experience and help lift up the economy.” CGA’s Director of Hospitality Operators and Food, Karl Chessell said: “CGA’s data shows us that the industry has been resilient and resourceful in the face of ferocious headwinds, with managed groups’ sales consistently ahead of pre-COVID-19 levels. However, strong underlying demand is being compromised by a storm of cost and labour issues. As we see in this report, a shortage of labour is compromising trading for restaurants, pubs and bars and driving up pay. All these issues have hurt business confidence and profitability ahead of the crucial Christmas and New Year trading period. The challenges highlight the urgent need for targeted government support for hospitality, which UKHospitality continues to work tirelessly to secure.”


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