The UK’s hospitality businesses are set to receive increased support through the government’s vocational training programmes in a bid to boost the sector post-Covid.
The new “hospitality strategy” will also see the government work with the British Business Bank and other lenders to “support access to finance for hospitality firms so they can invest in their businesses”.
The new programme comes amidst concerns of labour shortages for sectors like hospitality and retail post-Covid.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants left London during the pandemic, many of whom worked in these sectors.
Business minister Paul Scully said the government’s new strategy will look to prioritise opportunities in the hospitality industry to jobseekers through the government’s Work Coaches programme.
“We want young people to see the hospitality sector as a go-to option for long-term careers, and that’s why we will explore new options for vocational training and help further boost the creativity and environmental friendliness of the sector through the first-ever Government strategy for the hospitality industry,” he said.
The new programme was broadly welcomed by hospitality business groups.
UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said the new programme could provide “our sector with a strong platform to deliver the supportive regulatory and trading environment we need to recover, rebuild resilience and thrive”.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “This strategy for hospitality, the first of its kind, is a recognition of the importance of our sector’s contribution to the economy and society and will bring government investment that will help our sector to build back better and serve communities across the UK once more.”
Hospitality venues will be able to open in full from next week for the first time since March 2021, with social distancing set to be scrapped.
People will no longer have to order sitting down at pubs or be forced to remain in parties of six at indoor hospitality venues.
However, the government is still advising that restaurants and pubs keep some of these measures in place as Covid cases surge.
Government advice this week suggested restaurants and pubs should make people order on apps and wear face masks inside.