This week saw pressure mounting for Government support to help the hospitality industry continue to recover from the pandemic; one of the casualties was an historic pub but there are hopes it will bounce back; the lifting of Covid restrictions early came as a surprise while the campaign to address the industry’s skills shortage continues to gain support….
Support to tackle hospitality staffing crisis
With reports that there are now 400,000 vacancies in hospitality, it is great news that the industry’s planned biggest ever recruitment campaign is gaining more backing. The Hospitality Rising campaign has won support from the Hospitality & Tourism Sector Skills Board (HTSB) and leading employers are getting behind it. Hospitality Rising intends to raise a fund of up to £5m to create and launch the campaign and is encouraging employers to invest, pledging £10 per employee. The crisis has underlined the need for industry-wide operators and suppliers to work together to change the perception of hospitality.
Hospitality business leaders call for VAT cut to be held
More than 250 business leaders have urged the Government to maintain VAT at 12.5% and not return to the 20% rate in April. In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak from UKHospitality, they warn the fragile hospitality industry still needs help to recover after being hit hardest by Covid restrictions. They fear the VAT rise could force businesses to significantly raise their prices. The lower rate had been critical in keeping prices affordable for customers, they argued, and a return to the pre-pandemic level of 20% would exacerbate the squeeze on household finances at a time of high inflation. Let’s hope the Chancellor takes heed of these very real concerns!
Lifting Covid rules early
The Prime Minister’s announcement this week that Covid rules in England are to be scrapped a month early will be welcomed by many businesses even if some people still have concerns. The rules, due to be abolished from 24 February, include the legal requirement to isolate for those testing positive. Further guidance is expected but lifting the restrictions will have a big impact on the industry and consumer confidence
Hope for the future of Britain’s oldest pub
The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt and it was sad to learn that Britain’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Alban’s, Hertfordshire, had fallen into administration after a challenging two years. However the pub, which was once recognised as Britain’s oldest by Guinness World Records, is not through yet. Landlord Mitchells & Butlers is in talks with the tenant’s administrators and expects it to reopen under new management as soon as possible.