LEGAL | Staff Reporter, UK

Change Group: 'Make Brexit a plus for hospitality'

Hospitality recruiter The Change Group outlined a seven-point plan for the new UK prime minister, Theresa May, to support continued growth in British hospitality in the wake of the UK referendum decision to leave the EU.

The Change Group’s seven-point plan includes incentives to encourage more Britons to work in hospitality as well as to allow skilled migrants from the EU to continue to work in the UK:

  1. Permit freedom of movement for skilled EU migrants with fast track visas for proven talent: 50 per cent of applicants to the Change Group over the past two years, including experienced chefs and restaurant managers, have been EU nationals.
  2. If there has to be one, set the threshold for annual income for EU migrants at no more than £22,000 a year: the average chef salary in London in 2015 was just over £24,000 (The Change Group data).
  3. Incentivise gender pay parity to encourage more women into the industry: female chef salaries over the past two years have been on average £4,000 lower than male (The Change Group data).
  4. Strengthen the KS3 and KS4 curriculum to transform Food Technology and Catering GCSEs and A levels into an inspirational training ground for future chefs and restaurateurs. Work with the hospitality sector to increase the appeal of a career in food amongst teenagers.
  5. Improve provision of early years childcare especially for those on lower salaries to encourage more women chefs to return to work after pregnancy. The latest figures show that currently, fewer than one in five chefs in the UK is female and that the number of women working as chefs declined by 1000 between 2014 and 2015.
  6. Keep the value of the pound steady at a level that will boost tourism to the UK given that hospitality and tourism is the fourth largest employer in Britain.
  7. Promote growth amongst SMEs and start-up businesses with lower corporation tax and a freeze on National Insurance and business rates.

Craig Allen, director and co-founder of The Change Group, said that strengthening business has to be a priority for Theresa May’s new government through the Brexit negotiations.

"Leaving the EU can become a plus for the hospitality sector as long as the new government creates an open economy that focuses on boosting investment, employment and business success. As the fourth largest employer in the UK, it is vital that the new government listens to requests from the hospitality and tourism sector, otherwise both the industry and employment within it will suffer and businesses may close," he said.

“If Theresa May truly wants to lead a "country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us" then supporting the hospitality sector is important. Hospitality is highly inclusive enabling people from all backgrounds, educations and walks of life to thrive, no matter what their qualifications and where they went to school. Many of our top chefs came from very underprivileged backgrounds, and found success because of the opportunities provided by working in hospitality.”

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