Hospitality bosses including Whitbread hike pay to claw back staff

Hospitality bosses hike pay to claw back staff: Chefs offered £50k salaries and Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn workers get a rise from £10.60 as job vacancies soar by 83%

  • Whitbread warned its annual costs will rise by up to £30million due to pay rises
  • There are now 170,000 vacancies across hospitality sector, according to ONS
  • UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said this was ‘impeding’ ability of firms to trade

Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn owner Whitbread has hiked staff wages as a 83 per cent rise in job vacancies prompts an industry-wide rush to claw back staff – with pub chefs offered as much as £50,000 a year. 

Whitbread warned its annual costs will rise by up to £30million due to the pay increases, which are expected to apply across the board. Currently, workers in the firm’s kitchens are paid between £9.98 and £10.60 an hour. 

There are now 170,000 vacancies across the hospitality sector, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said this was ‘impeding’ the ability of pubs, cafes and restaurants to trade. 

In April 2022, weekly earnings were 15.1 per cent higher than a year earlier – against a 9 per cent rate of inflation. This is the highest wage growth of any sector, and means hospitality is one of the few parts of the economy seeing real wage increases. 

Whitbread today cautioned its annual costs will rise by up to £30million due to the pay increases

Whitbread said UK demand was ahead of its expectations, with first-quarter accommodation sales 31 per cent ahead of the pre-pandemic levels two years ago, and 235.6 per cent ahead of a year earlier when restrictions affected trading. 

But it said labour supply ‘remains tight’, meaning higher wages were needed to tempt new staff and persuade existing employees to stay.  

‘Assuming that consumer demand and occupancy remain strong, we expect some additional costs due to targeted pay increases,’ a spokesman said. 

‘We are also taking the opportunity to bring forward our investment in refurbishments and maintenance projects as well as accelerate some additional IT spend that will underpin our market-leading position and drive future earnings.’

Official figures released yesterday showed that vacancies in the hospitality sector jumped to a record high of 174,000 last month as businesses face the possibility of staff shortages over the key summer season.

British hospitality businesses recorded 83 per cent more vacancies over the three months to May than over the same period in 2019, before the pandemic struck.

Almost four in five hospitality venues had raised wages to attract more staff, UK Hospitality revealed in March. 

The Premier Inn owner said labour supply ‘remains tight’, meaning higher wages were needed to tempt new staff and persuade existing employees to stay

In April, Wetherspoons revealed a 20p pay boost for workers, which took them above £10 for the first time. The National Living Wage is currently £9.50.    

Chefs’ wages across the industry are up by 7 per cent this year to £9.58 an hour. 

Prospective head chefs in pubs have been offered salaries of as much as £50,000, the Morning Advertiser reported after analysing job adverts. 

Care homes in cost of living crisis: Roaring inflation means residents are having meals shrunk while fees are hiked by hundreds of pounds a month

By Helena Kelly for the Daily Mail 

When Kate Meacock received a letter from her mother’s care home earlier this year, she knew exactly what to expect.

Once again the home was upping its fees — this time by £500 a month.

It means she is now paying £7,880 per month, a 55 per cent increase on what she originally agreed to seven years ago. ‘I can’t see how this is sustainable,’ says Kate, 52.

Devoted couple: Ivor and Eileen Truman, on their wedding day, now live together in a care home meaning they face double fees which are soaring annually

‘With other bills you can shop around if they go up. But you can’t do that with a care home. It would be too unsettling for mum to move.’

Experts warn that Britain’s social care system is now at breaking point, with residents forced to pay tens of thousands of pounds to keep it together.

The pandemic shone a light on cracks in the industry, prompting the Government to introduce its controversial ‘health and social care levy’ to plug a major funding hole. But the sector now faces a new battle: the cost-of-living crisis. 

Just like households across the country, care homes are being hit by soaring energy bills and food prices.

‘I could not believe mum’s bill increase’ 

Lynne Ellis saw her mother’s care home fees increase by £60 a week in April.

Mum Patricia Laforge, 91, is self-funded though her savings are dwindling fast as she tries to keep up with rising fees. 

Lynne Ellis has seen her mother Patricia’s care home fees increase by £60 a week in April

Lynne, 61, from Middlesbrough, says: ‘I could not believe the price increase.

‘The pandemic was absolutely awful and we couldn’t see her for most of lockdown. 

So to come out of all that and then be told the home is increasing its fees is just awful.’

‘What are these extra fees even covering?’

It’s led some to slim down meal sizes, reduce menu options and even cut down on the use of washing machines to slash costs.

An employment crisis in the sector also means providers are having to rapidly increase staff wages. And they are being quoted sky-high insurance bills after the pandemic saw nervous insurers hike premiums. 

One care home director told Money Mail the cost of his cover has more than quadrupled in a year. Many providers say they have no choice but to pass on these rising costs.

And families up and down the country have already been hit with big bill hikes this year.

A Facebook group devoted to residents’ relatives, called Rights for Residents, has attracted dozens of posts from members complaining their fees had been increased by hundreds of pounds per month. In some cases it was the second time in a year that the home had hiked fees.

According to the specialist website UK Care Guide, someone in a self-funded care home will see their annual fees increase by between £15,000 and £30,000 over the next three years.

When somebody goes into care, families can access support from their local authority if they have less than £23,250 in savings.

If they have more than that they must cover the cost themselves.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 125,000 residents are self-funded — around 35 per cent of the total number of people in care. On average they already pay between £27,000 and £39,000 a year, according to market research provider LaingBuisson.

Diane Mayhew, founder of Rights for Residents, says: ‘In the midst of the cost-of-living crisis it’s understandable homes need to manage their outgoings.

‘However, on top of years of inexplicable fee increases this latest financial burden is too much for families. 

Care has been reduced to an ‘industry’ in which our loved ones are referred to as ‘service users’ rather than residents who are paying a handsome fee to live in a place they call home.’

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