The BHA has issued the call as part of its self-titled ‘manifesto’, ahead of the upcoming snap General Election on 8 June, and is asking all parties to make hospitality and tourism a priority.
It says that immigration targets should be ‘evidence-based’, and has used figures from a recent KPMG report, which stated that at least 60,000 EU workers would be needed each year to keep the hospitality going and growing.
Other key elements of the BHA manifesto included asking for the Tourism VAT to be cut from 20% to 5%; that the National Living Wage be set by the Low Pay Commission and not political parties; and that an immediate review be held into business rates that, it said, ‘disadvantage bricks and mortar businesses’.
“We recognise that immigration policy needs to change, but we need time to find and recruit UK workers,” says Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA.
“We have already sent the Government our ten year plan for this to happen and are keen to help the next administration to reposition our industry as a great place to work and use every opportunity to support the sector.”
The BHA bills itself as the voice for the hospitality and tourism industries, and counts 46,000 members across the sector.
BHA figures show that the industry accounts for 4.5 million jobs across the UK, and is the fourth largest employer, employing 10% of the workforce in 180,000 businesses.