Great Britain

Labour shortage crisis spreads to pubs and bars as industry issues desperate call to Boris

UK hospitality industry in 'catastrophic' situation says expert

Such is the lack of staff in the hospitality sector that some venues are urging the Government to issue emergency visas for EU workers. As venues struggle to fill vacancies, some have warned they may collapse if the Government doesn't step in. The Government has called on businesses to employ more UK-based staff but various venues have warned this solution will not be quick enough to fill vacancies.

Charles Tyler, general manager at Southwark restaurant Paladar: “It’s all very well for the Government to say we need to home-grow our staff and train them – that takes years.

"We need a fast solution for this.

“I’m not saying British people are not good workers but we need more."

A Home Office spokesperson also told City AM: "The Government encourages all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers through offering training, career options, wage increases and investment."

Labour shortage

Labour shortages have been reported in the industry (Image: GETTY)

Labour shortages

Labour shortages: Bars have called for emergency measures (Image: GETTY)

Due to a combination of Brexit and the pandemic, 300,000 foreign workers were estimated to have left the UK.

As a result, Kate Nicholls, the head of Hospitality UK, claimed the sector needs ongoing Governmental support.

She said: "It’s crucial that the government looks to provide ongoing support for the sector, by ensuring that existing initiatives such as the Kickstart scheme are functioning effectively, as well as working with businesses to get more people into apprenticeships and training.”

Industry leaders have called on the UK to institute a 12-month visa programme to help businesses recover from the pandemic.

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Labour shortages

Labour shortages: Pubs are suffering a crisis (Image: GETTY)

Other staff shortages have also been reported in the haulage industry and poultry workers.

In order to help the industries, the Government has opened a three-month temporary visa programme in order to encourage foreign workers back to the UK.

The scheme will offer 10,500 visas across both sectors in order to limit disruption in the run-up to Christmas.

Despite welcoming the move, Ms Nicholls said more needs to be done to stop the crisis in the sector.

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Labour shortages

Labour shortages: The industry said 300,000 foreigners have left the UK (Image: GETTY)

Labour shortages

Labour shortages: Some businesses fear they may close (Image: GETTY)

She previously said: "Hospitality venues are still in a fragile state with significant debts, making their first steps on the road to recovery and rebuilding broken balance sheets, any setbacks over the coming months will result in more businesses closures.

“Hospitality is clearly suffering most when compared to other sectors."

In further news for the hospitality sector, restaurant, café, and pub bosses are set to be banned from keeping tips left for staff.

As workers rely on the additional money to top up their incomes, it will now be illegal for employers to withhold tips.

Labour shortages

Labour shortages: Lorry driver numbers (Image: Express)

Labour Markets Minister Paul Scully said the plans would "ensure tips will go to those who worked for it".

If any employer breaks the new law, they can be taken to an employment tribunal.

Labour shortages

Labour shortages: The Government has issued 10k visas (Image: GETTY)

He said: "Unfortunately, some companies choose to withhold cash from hardworking staff who have been tipped by customers as a reward for good service.

"Our plans will make this illegal and ensure tips will go to those who worked for it".

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