Sharp decline in industry job numbers sends alarm bells ringing

The UK’s hospitality sector is at risk of backsliding and undoing 10 years of progress as a result of financial pressures, industry trade body UKHospitality warned yesterday.

Bosses at the organisation have advised the government that taxation and regulatory pressures risk the good work and job creation carried out by the hospitality sector since 2008.

The warning comes in response to a report from the Office for National Statistics that revealed there are 31,000 fewer jobs in the industry compared to same period last year.

The data highlights a third consecutive quarter of shrinkage in jobs numbers and 92,000 fewer jobs compared to peak of Q2 2017.

Despite this, the number of jobs in the sector is still nearly 400,000 more than at the end of 2008.

UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The hospitality sector has done a fantastic job at creating opportunities, revitalising high streets and stimulating growth since the financial crisis. The sector has been a major driver of employment, creating one in seven of all new jobs despite increasing cost pressures and legislative restrictions.

“The new data from the ONS suggests that these cost pressures are becoming too much for some employers and, consequently, we are looking at a reduction in the number of jobs compared to last year. It also seems no coincidence that the reduction in jobs should follow so closely from the disastrous business rates revaluation that has heaped more pressure on venues.

Mrs Nicholls said that UKHospitality has been “vocal and persistent” in its message to the government that if businesses continue to face spiralling taxes, they will struggle to invest and grow and, ultimately, jobs will be at risk. “The sector is still in a very strong position and has an opportunity to continue creating jobs and revitalising communities around the UK, but only if exorbitant and destructive costs are tackled by the government.”

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