Boris Johnson’s end-of-lockdown betrayal has exacerbated the chronic staff shortage faced by restaurants, bars and hotels, industry leaders have warned.
The High Street has burst back to life as restrictions have eased but bosses face a hiring crisis. Some eateries are shutting at lunchtime to give workers a break, while others are offering £1,000 sign-on bonuses to new recruits.
But bosses said the PM’s decision to delay the end of lockdown to July 19 had sucked confidence and driven potential recruits away.
Hiring crisis: As many as 600,000 hospitality positions disappeared during the pandemic
Michael Bonsor, managing director of the Rosewood Hotel London, which has 40 vacancies, said: ‘We’re the first sector to close, it’s the last to reopen – the industry is not that attractive to join now.
‘The last thing I want to do is turn away business and clients because we can’t service them. When you have an industry that’s been closed for 15 months that’s the worst state to be in at this point.’
Kevin Georgel, chief executive of St Austell Brewery, which has 179 pubs, said the Government must provide certainty ‘to show that pubs are back open for good and a stable career choice’. He added: ‘It is critical stability is returned.’
Trade body UK Hospitality said: ‘Until hospitality venues are able to trade profitably, the sector is unable to move forward.’
As many as 600,000 hospitality positions disappeared during the pandemic, and the rapid recovery has led to a hiring spree.
Industry groups said there was a shortfall of about 188,000 workers, with the shortage of front-of-house staff and chefs being ‘particularly acute’.