Hospitality head honchos share views on EU referendum

On the 23rd of June, the nation will vote on whether to remain part of the European Union (EU). This is a crucial decision for the UK, with widespread implications (and some potential benefits) for the hospitality industry if we were to leave.

So, whether you’re a Head Chef, a Housekeeper or a Hotel Manager, take a minute to read our quick-fire compilation of views from your industry leaders.

Travelodge CEO, Peter Gowers, is firmly in the ‘stay’ camp

Speaking last June, Peter warned against leaving the EU: “There is a danger of us sleepwalking in to real danger if [the hospitality industry] doesn’t stand up and be counted,” he said. “If the result leads to it being more difficult for people to visit this country, then we have a problem as an industry.”

Supporting Peter’s opinion is hospitality giant, Whitbread, which has said it would prefer to remain in the EU due to the economic uncertainty which could come about as a result of leaving.

President of the UK Bangladesh Caterers Associations, Pasha Khandaker, is ready to leave

Outspoken Pasha said: “If the UK had a fairer immigration system it would be easier for businesses to recruit skilled workers regardless of their nationality.” Referring to the UK’s current immigration policy, he added: “Qualified workers from the Commonwealth are refused entry, whereas workers from across the EU are free to enter the UK.”

Backing this notion was the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign itself, which highlighted this exact issue with catering jobs when it tweeted: “Curry houses across the UK are struggling to recruit the talent they need due to freedom of movement within the EU”.

What’s the general consensus?

It seems the majority of the hospitality industry is in favour of remaining a member of the EU. In fact, in a survey carried out by The Caterer magazine this week, 62% of those surveyed in the hotel, restaurant and foodservice sectors said that they thought it would be better for the hospitality industry to stay in the EU. The main reason being given as “reduced staff availability” if the result of the vote is to leave.

Only 27% thought it would be better for the industry if the UK public voted to leave, with almost half of those people believing a vote to leave the EU would bring about “more freedom to set our own taxes, laws and regulations”.

As we approach polling day, there’s sure to be plenty more ‘pro vs con’ arguments, for our industry and many others. Why not keep up with the conversation online by joining our social media circles? And remember, if you have a vote, then stand up and be counted.