Pubs lost out on a whopping £22m over the bank holiday weekend due to staff shortages which continue to cripple the UK hospitality sector post-Brexit.
While the August bank holiday led many punters to the pub to enjoy extended weekend, a new study from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) showed that staff shortages lead to an eight per cent decrease in revenues.
For over two years hospitality has had the highest vacancy rate of any sector, with the most recent ONS figures showing the UK’s average vacancy rate is at 3.2 per cent with hospitality almost two percent higher than that at 5.1 per cent.
This shortage has in part been fuelled by Brexit which has led to tougher immigration laws and restricted the number of workers the government deems as ‘low skilled’ roles entering the UK.
A recent cross-industry survey conducted by the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping, Hospitality Ulster and UKHospitality, showed 61 per cent of hospitality businesses are currently experiencing staff shortages, with 42 percent reducing opening hours on weekends due to a lack of team members
“Businesses are taking initiatives to overcome these challenges through altering menus and shortening hours, but ultimately this means they are not trading to full capacity and in turn that means lower sales and less revenue generated for the treasury,” Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said.
The industry group has now called on the government to implement solutions to solve the staffing crisis by making changes to the youth mobility scheme and widening the shortage occupation list.
Earlier this year, government advisors in the Migration Advisory Committee revealed it had updated its shortage occupation list – allowing international bricklayers and carpenters to get work visas more easily in the UK.
However, hospitality was not included.
As part of the scheme, which falls under new Brexit guidelines, workers on the shortage occupation list are allowed to apply for a skilled worker visa to come and work in the UK.
“We urgently need the government to implement solutions to solve the staffing crisis by making changes to the youth mobility scheme and widening the shortage occupation list, because brilliant pubs thrive on brilliant people, and we need more of them to reach our full economic potential,” McClarkin added.
“The government is in regular dialogue with the hospitality and tourism sectors and is aware of the recruitment and retention challenges facing businesses, including pubs,” a Department for Business and Trade spokesperson said.
“The Hospitality Sector Council is actively looking at this issue and the Hospitality and Tourism Skills Board, which comprises businesses across both sectors, is considering ways to strengthen recruitment, training and retention for the hospitality sector.”