Late last week Brussels agreed to a six-month extension to Brexit, making the new deadline 31 October and continuing the air of uncertainty over the country. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have already been affected and no one is feeling it more than the Manchester hospitality industry. With consumers pinching their pennies and being more selective with how they spend their incomes, leisure sectors are finding that they’re the first to be written off from people’s shopping lists. However, it seems that there is a more serious issue at hand. Adrian Ellis, the Chairman of Manchester Hoteliers’ Association, voices his concerns of the impending decision and how Brexit is impacting the Manchester hospitality industry.
In a recent interview Ellis said: “There was a slowdown in business for a lot of Manchester hotels during March, and so far in April too. This is mostly because people have been anxious about holding meetings when there is so much uncertainty around.”
In reaction to the avoidance of a no-deal exit from the EU, Ellis expressed relief, however urging that the hospitality industry needs clear answers soon in order to plan for the future. “Today’s extension to Article 50 will hopefully mark a fresh start and a clearer direction for businesses throughout the country.”
“Not as many Europeans are coming and applying for jobs at hotels across Greater Manchester, unlike in previous years when people would come in their droves”, Ellis says. This can range from waiters to concierges, room attendants to managers. A study recently conducted by professional services firm KPMG concluded that almost 75% of waiters are from EU countries outside of the UK.
“A big wish for Manchester Hoteliers’ Association is that the hospitality talent pool doesn’t run out. Recruitment is more challenging at present. The pool of people is shrinking unfortunately”. Not only is Brexit affecting the hospitality industry in Manchester but across the nation with Scotland and the Lake District also voicing concerns over the recruitment slump. It seems the North is being hit the worst with hospitality and construction sectors feeling it most.
Ellis ends with a plea to move on, no matter what the decision may be; “We are hoping for clear direction and for the uncertainty to lift, in whatever shape that will come in.”