UKHospitality welcomes plan to fill 500,000 job vacancies

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Government plan welcomed: Kate Nichols of UKHospitality fears job vacancies are threatening the sector's recovery
Government plan welcomed: Kate Nichols of UKHospitality fears job vacancies are threatening the sector's recovery

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UKHospitality has welcomed a Government initiative to help 500,000 jobseekers into work by the end of June as the sector’s lack of staffing remains “a huge threat” to its recovery.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched the scheme called Way To Work that “will focus on getting job-ready people off Universal Credit and into work, rapidly filling vacancies which are at a record high”.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We hope this new Government initiative will contribute to plugging hospitality’s jobs gap, which remains a huge threat to recovery for the sector and, by extension, the wider economy.”

Heart-breaking sight

She continued: “With restrictions now lifted, it has been heart-breaking to see venues that were so desperate to trade fully for the first time in nearly two years, forced to reduce their opening hours or simply not open at all due to a lack of staff. This is a serious threat to businesses that are carrying huge debts and little or no cash reserves, especially as we get closer to a cliff edge in April when the sector faces a rise in VAT, business rates and labour costs.

“We will be working with Jobcentres and sector businesses to connect jobseekers with jobs in a strengthened partnership. Hospitality is a wonderful industry to work in, and provides interesting, exciting and rewarding long-term careers but in order to continue this and to invest in job creation, the industry will need support from the Government, including a commitment to keep VAT permanently at its current rate of 12.5%.”

The DWP said latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show the demand for workers is ongoing with a record 1.2 million vacancies to fill – 59% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Delivering opportunities

Work and Pensions secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “Helping people get any job now, means they can get a better job and progress into a career. Way to Work is a step-change in our offer to claimants and employers, making sure our Jobcentre network and excellent ‘work coaches’ can deliver opportunities, jobs and prosperity to all areas of the country.

“As we emerge from Covid, we are going to tackle supply challenges and support the continued economic recovery by getting people into work. Our new approach will help claimants get quickly back into the world of work while helping ensure employers get the people they and the economy needs.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak added: “It’s important that everyone has the opportunity and support to find a good job to help them get on in life. That’s why we’re doubling down on our plan for Jobs with this new campaign to harness the talent of jobseekers and support employers to fill vacancies, find work and create new opportunities. Together we will boost this country’s jobs-led recovery.”

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