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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Mark Banham

Trade bodies estimate staff shortages cost hospitality £21 billion

The lack of available hospitality staff is causing some pubs to close their doors on certain days (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

(Picture: PA Archive)

Staff shortages in the hospitality industry have reached “critical” levels causing nearly half (45%) of operators to cut trading hours or capacity in response, costing the industry £21 billion in lost revenue and causing an estimated £5 billion tax blow to the the Exchequer.

According to a joint survey by the UK’s trade bodies for the hospitality industry UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer and Pub Association, staff shortages are forcing one in three businesses in the sector to close “one or more days a week”.

Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures said the sector currently has a record 174,000 jobs available.

The joint survey reveals that the highest shortages are for front of house roles, with 81% of operators looking to fill vacancies. Chefs are the next most sought after, with 76% of operators with recruitment issues, followed by kitchen porters (67%), and assistant managers (53%).

In a joint statement, UKHospitality, the British Institute of Innkeeping, and the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “These figures clearly show the danger to the industry and financial loss to the country via taxes posed by the current staffing crisis. In short, the recovery of both the sector and the UK economy are being threatened by this workforce shortage.

Operators have been doing all they can to help solve the issue, from increasing wages, to flexible working. However, this can only help so much, and the sector must be given targeted support in order to solve the crisis.”

Earlier this week, Kate Nicholls CEO of UKHospitality said that the current transport strikes could deal a “fatal financial blow” to hospitality businesses already struggling to survive after the pandemic and lockdowns shattered revenues as businesses were forced to shutter their premises.

It is estimated that the  industry will lose £540 million from the three day trade union strike action.

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