grainger

MP calls for staffing crisis evidence

IAN Liddell-Grainger is calling for evidence of the impact the West Country’s booming holiday season is having on staff recruitment in the hospitality sector.

The Bridgwater and West Somerset MP says he is seriously concerned that a shortage of affordable rented accommodation is leaving seasonal businesses struggling to fill vacancies.

With foreign holidays still subject to pandemic-related restrictions the southwest is enjoying an unprecedentedly busy summer.

But the demand for self-catering has been fuelling rental increases to a point where seasonal workers have been priced out of the market.

The situation has been most acute in Cornwall and the South Hams where landlords have been able to ask – and get – more than double the usual rents for houses and apartments.

Some businesses in Cornwall say staff are now having to live in Devon and drive more than 30 miles to work.

Mr Liddell-Grainger says problems on Exmoor and in West Somerset are not, apparently on the same scale.

Businesses struggling

“But I am aware that a number of businesses in the hospitality sector are struggling to find enough staff and that as a result opening hours are having to be restricted and takings are therefore down.

“This is a worrying situation. Undoubtedly part of the reason can be attributed to the exodus of so many Eastern European workers but clearly the last thing we need is for this to become a permanent problem.

“It could well be that the restrictions on foreign holidays and the resultant surge in the domestic market will be a one-off and that by 2022 staff shortages will be less of a problem.

“But we cannot take that for granted and I believe it would pay us to examine the situation in some detail and work out ways of easing the twin pressures of staff shortages and a lack of affordable staff accommodation.

“This is clearly a matter I need to discuss with my colleagues in the southwest but in the meantime I should be grateful for any evidence tourism proprietors can offer me of difficulties they have experienced this season.”

Submissions can be made to Mr Liddell-Grainger at: Ianlg@parliament.uk

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