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BBPA warns of ‘serious’ staff shortages in pubs

The BBPA has warned of ‘serious’ staff shortages it says pubs are experiencing. It has written to Employment Minister, Mims Davies, urging the Government to urgently do what it can to help the sector with such staff shortages.

According to the BBPA, some of its members have either had to shut pubs or greatly reduce their service due to the shortages.

It says the shortages have been caused by an array of factors, from the labour intensive requirements of social distancing restrictions the sector has to operate under, to EU nationals not returning to the UK as well as disconnect in staff on furlough returning to work in pubs particularly those with double jobs.

It says that in order to show returning and prospective pub and hospitality staff that the sector is a safe and stable employer, it is of paramount importance that the Government sticks to the roadmap commitment of removing restrictions on 21st June.

It has also urged the Government to expand the Youth Mobility Scheme to cover more nations and provide a more flexible approach to immigration by reviewing the shortage occupation list, to help support pub and hospitality staffing needs for the long term.

As more and more individuals across the UK receive their vaccination, the BBPA is urging the Government to remove all restrictions in pubs on 21st June. It says this is needed not only because the damage the restrictions are having on the viability of pubs, brewers and hospitality businesses are impeding their recovery and threatening their very survival but because of the knock to the confidence of those employees in the hospitality sector.

The trade association has launched its “Countdown to Freedom” campaign urging the Government to remove restrictions on pubs and the wider hospitality sector on 21st June. The campaign will continue to highlight to Government the cost and impact the remaining restrictions continue to have on the sector and remind the Government of its commitment to remove the restrictions on 21st June if its four tests for the removal of restrictions are met.

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our pubs face a serious staffing shortage that has become acute. In some instances pubs are having to reduce capacity or close entirely because they don’t have the staff to open.

“This is a major concern for our sector as it is hindering its recovery after lockdown. At our heart we are a people business and we need good people to provide the best hospitality.

“Even before the crisis, pubs in some areas were struggling to find the staff with the skills they need, particularly chefs and kitchen staff. As they reopen and begin their recovery, some have found staff have either moved away or found jobs in other sectors.

“To show our pubs are back open for good and are a stable career choice, it is imperative the Government sticks to the roadmap and removes all restrictions on 21st June.  

“It remains the case that pubs and hospitality are a great career and you can go from bar staff to managing a pub very quickly. We just need the Government to confirm this by removing all restrictions on 21st June. The countdown to freedom, and the recovery of our sector, is on.”