In response to the latest labour market figures released today by the Office for National Statistics, UKHospitality CEO, Kate Nicholls, said:

“These new figures show jobs in the hospitality sector up 252,000 over the last 12-months and unemployment substantially down, now at 4% and therefore below pre-pandemic levels. This is positive news for our beleaguered industry and clearly demonstrates what a vital role our businesses play in the UK’s economic recovery.

“The sector remains fragile, however, facing an onslaught of soaring costs including a rise in VAT to 20% next month. Today’s figures also chart record levels of vacancies in the sector, reflecting how challenging the labour market remains. In addition, the data also shows an increase in the number of people choosing to be economically inactive, indicating a need for flexibility in order to avoid impacting on the sector’s fragile recovery.

“If hospitality is to be able to continue to provide jobs and support wider UK recovery and growth, then the sector needs further support from the Government. The key to this will be for the Chancellor to keep VAT at 12.5% beyond April.”