Hospitality could be contributing £20bn more a year to British economy, says UKHospitality chief at 'Fixing the Crisis' strategy launch

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

a new workforce strategy called 'Fixing the Crisis' is to address training, retruitment, retention and image problems in the sector, as trade body chief Kate Nicholls says the UK treasury is currently missing out on £20bn per year 

The framework for collaborative action across the sector aims to help fill its 170,000 vacancies by examining all aspects of its labour needs – including recruitment, skills and training, working lives, image and infrastructure to support employees.

Initial steps will include engaging with industry and local partners, developing action plans and a big recruitment campaign. UKHospitality will also produce an annual report on the state of the hospitality workforce.

'As an industry we do need to fix that'

At the strategy's launch at Westminster Kingsway College on Tuesday, Kate Nicholls OBE said:“It’s routine for me going around the country talking to restaurateurs and hoteliers who say they are deliberately capping their economic activity by about 20 percent, and that’s the money we’re leaving on the table.” 

“That’s about £20 billion per annum the Treasury is missing out on in terms of economic growth and the tax revenue that goes alongside that. As an industry we do need to fix it."

She added that a report from The World Travel and Trade Congress which estimated that the sector was likely to grow by three percent in the next decade -  double the rate of the economy as a whole, but less than the five percent it was generating pre-pandemic.

"So," she added, "that’s the lost opportunity for the economy if we don’t get our sector firing on all cylinders and fix this recruitment crisis. Covid can be a real reset moment for our sector to look at all of our ways of working.

Calling for government to play its part, she said it would need to create "the right conditions for us to thrive and invest and giving us the headroom for growth," as well as promoting the sector as a good place to work, and putting policies in place "to make sure we can equip our young people of the future.”

The UKHospitality chief stressed that vacancies are double what they were in the summer of 2019, prior to the pandemic, adding: "I don’t think anyone would have believed you if you’d have said recruiting would be twice as bad.

"It’s crucial we work collaboratively to deliver on this strategy, it will create economic growth and help regenerate communities in all parts of the country. Higher employment rates and business levels will generate even further taxation from hospitality to fund and bolster local and national public services. It will also contribute to the UK being a leading tourist destination.”

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 1st June 2022

Hospitality could be contributing £20bn more a year to British economy, says UKHospitality chief at 'Fixing the Crisis' strategy launch