In this episode of the Ceres Podcast, Stelios discusses the hospitality news with previous Young Fish Frier Winner Charlie Collins from Frydales in Leicester.
They discuss the following topics:
The potato harvest in the UK and Europe in 2023 has been challenging due to adverse weather conditions, including storms, heavy rainfall, and summer drought. The UK is expecting one of its smallest potato crops on record, with only 85% of seed potatoes lifted before storms hit. In Yorkshire and Belgium, waterlogged conditions have made harvesting difficult, affecting around 20% of the crops. The North-western European Potato Growers (NEPG) association reports that the potato crop in north-west Europe is nearly 20% smaller than last year. In Ukraine, potato prices have surged by 17% in a week, driven by anticipation of better prices as temperatures drop.
The UK government is reconsidering the reinstatement of tax-free tourist shopping to boost tourism and hospitality industries. The decision, previously discarded during a post-Brexit tax policy review, is being revisited due to concerns expressed by industry leaders and the negative impact on tourism. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt acknowledged these concerns and said the Government would review the decision based on current data and trends. UKHospitality's chief executive, Kate Nicholls, also emphasised the importance of considering a lower VAT rate for the hospitality sector to make prices more competitive for consumers and stimulate business growth.
Read The pub and bar industry in Scotland is experiencing a significant crisis, with a much higher rate of closures than in England. The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) and Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) report that 76 pubs closed in Scotland between Q1 and Q3 of this year, which is a sharp increase from the previous year and represents a closure rate of 1.7%, double that of England's 0.75%. These associations are urging the Scottish Government for financial support, similar to the 75% rate relief given to English businesses. Scottish pubs are struggling with debts from the COVID-19 pandemic, rising energy costs, supply chain issues, and the upcoming minimum wage increase.
UK Government Raises Salary Threshold for Foreign Workers Amid Immigration Control Efforts
The UK government is increasing the minimum salary requirement for foreign workers to control immigration, raising it from £26,200 to £38,700 for skilled worker visas. This change is part of a broader plan to reduce immigration, including measures like banning family dependents for health and care workers and reviewing graduate visas. Critics argue these changes could harm vital sectors like healthcare and hospitality, leading to workforce shortages and business closures. The Government defends the measures as necessary for sustainable and legal immigration.
You can listen to previous episodes to learn more about Charlie Collins.
If you have listened to this episode, what do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.