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HBAA ‘disappointed’ by lack of cash for recruitment

The HBAA has said it is “disappointed” by the lack of provision for recruitment issues in the chancellor’s autumn spending review.

In his first spending review as chancellor, Sajid Javid outlined £13.8 billion of measures, the largest increase in public spending in more than 15 years.

The association for hotel and venue booking agents carried out a Brexit survey this year that showed that almost one in five respondents reported that Brexit had had a major impact on recruitment.

Angie Mason said: “We’re disappointed that, at a time when the hospitality and meetings is among many industries losing EU workers as a result of Brexit, there is so little in the Autumn Budget Statement to address the recruitment issues highlighted by our annual Brexit survey.

“We hope that some of the extra £400m to educate 16 to 19 year olds might go to encourage to train in the sector.”

The chancellor committed the government to a 4.1 per cent increase in expenditure from 2019-20 to 2020-21, with no department experiencing real-term cuts.

During the statement, Javid was ordered by the Speaker to limit his speech to the spending review after he spent the early parts of his speech attacking Labour’s policy on Brexit.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) director Paul Johnson accused the chancellor of taking a “gamble” by making commitments using out-of-date economic forecasts.

In its Brexit survey from earlier this year, the HBAA described the growing impact on recruitment as “striking”. Of those that took part in the survey, 18.7 per cent reported that Brexit has had a major impact whereas 12 months ago that figure was just 9.6 per cent and in 2017, only 2.3 per cent of respondents held that view. Those saying that it has had no effect on recruitment decreased to 62.5 per cent from 67.3 per cent a year ago and from 80.2 per cent in 2017.

Correspondingly, 19.3 per cent of members have now changed their recruitment policies since the decision to leave the EU, up from 13.7 per cent a year ago. 25 per cent expect to change their policy in the next two years, an increase from 19.2 per cent in 2018.