The hospitality sector in Britain may lose about five lakh jobs if the government’s financial support ends. It is uncertain as to when the sector will be fully open and functional, given the fact that the new variant of the coronavirus is spreading rapidly across the country. Even if the sector reopens soon, there may be acute labour shortage with workers from the European Union — who returned to their hometowns amidst the pandemic — being unable to return due to the amendments in visa rules post Brexit. The travel restrictions are making it difficult for migrant workers to return, and most students have left town.
In addition, there will be competition to employ workers once the sector reopens, because several businesses in the hospitality space were unable to furlough seasonal employees employees, simply because they couldn’t afford to. Now, they will be trying to outdo each other to attract workers. In some regions the demand for quality talent, such as managers and chefs, will certainly lead to inflated salaries. That is not all, post pandemic, commercial landlords are not very keen to rent out to hospitality companies for fear of tightening lockdown rules and restrictions.
Several hospitality firms are incurring losses because of the cost of delivering table service, as is mandated by the government rules. The industry is in debt to landlords, to whom it owes over three billion pounds! Then there is the issue of back taxes to the tune of $132 million, which is going to be a big burden unless reopening happens soon.