Hospitality sector warns about EU staff shortfall

Members of the hotel, restaurant and tourism industries have warned that the UK faces a shortfall of up to 60,000 workers a year if immigration from the European Union is restricted.

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) claims that thousands of its members are facing having to drastically reduce their dependence on EU workers.

It estimates that nearly a quarter of hospitality staff come from the EU, or around three million workers.

The BHA says that around 75 per cent of waiting staff in the UK are European, alongside 37 per cent of house-keeping staff and a quarter of all chefs.

It also predicts that it would take around 10 years to replace European staff with British staff, which includes training, targeting older workers and encouraging younger people to take jobs in the sector.

Ufi Ibrahim, head of the BHA, said: “It is clear that hospitality and tourism face major problems in recruitment if there is any major cut in the number of workers allowed to enter from the EU.

“We want to avoid there being any cliff edge but the government must be aware that in the medium to long term we will still need considerable numbers of EU workers, who have contributed so much to our industry and the UK economy in general.

“We are aware of our responsibility to encourage more UK nationals to see the career opportunities available in hospitality and tourism.

“We do need the government to play its part too, by recognising our employment needs and recognising how important this industry, the fourth largest, is to the country.”

12 per cent rise in winding-up applications to recover unpaid tax

A new study suggests that the number of winding-up applications issued by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is on the rise.

According to business financier Funding Options, 3,906 such applications were issued to SMEs in 2016 in a bid to recover unpaid tax, up from 3,405 one year previous and representative of a 12 per cent rise.

Their research found that HMRC successfully obtained 2,065 winding-up orders in total, up from just 1,944 in 2015.

Mr Conrad Ford, CEO of Funding Options, said that the study illustrated exactly how far the tax authority is willing to go in order to recover unpaid tax.

He said: “Shutting a company down is the biggest weapon in HMRC’s arsenal, but it’s one the taxman is using more and more.

“In these extreme circumstances, companies may have some difficult choices to make between paying employees or suppliers and paying their tax bill.

He added: “It’s vital that businesses don’t stick their heads in the sand: SMEs need to try to work with HMRC to prevent arrears backing up. They should also take pro-active steps to make sure they have a funding safety net readily available for when they need it”.

This is what entrepreneurs love about being their own boss

Owners of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have shared what they love about running their own business

The research, published by property letting agent City Breaks, looks at the motivations of 1,000 UK entrepreneurs – whether that means calling the shots, or just running on their own schedule.

The first, and most favoured, motivation of business owners is being their own boss, with more than three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents citing this as their number one incentive.

For 64 per cent of owners, maintaining a flexible time schedule is a major draw of running their own business.

This is even more pronounced in 18 – 24 year olds, with 85 per cent citing flexible hours as a major motivation.

A slightly less, albeit sizeable chunk of owners believe that making their own decisions is a major motivation, with 40 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women citing this reason.

Meanwhile, a quarter (25 per cent) of entrepreneurs believe that being in charge of who is – and isn’t – employed is the best thing about being a business owner.

Salary benefits appeared in just 16 per cent of respondents’ answers, while just nine per cent cited choice of location and the opportunity to go on business trips.