How can we combat the cost-of-living crisis?

It’s no secret that the cost of living is rising exponentially, and companies are struggling to keep up. The factors involved in these rising inflation levels are varied and far-reaching – our emergence from the pandemic, coupled with the UK’s exit from the European Union and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, are all having a devastating impact on the cost of food manufacturing and energy prices.

Sasha Lord is the latest industry figure to speak out about the way these issues are affecting the leisure and hospitality industry. As we anticipate next week’s spring statement, Lord has expressed ‘overwhelming concern’ for a sector battling staff shortages on top of rising costs and customers that are now more reluctant to spend their money in venues across the UK.

Lord released a statement on the 14th of March: ‘We are seeing difficulties across the board, from supply chain coordination, price rises in produce and ingredients and surging energy costs, which will only increase over the coming months. We can say with certainty that these unavoidable pressures we have huge, business-defining impacts on our hospitality sector.’

The NTIA (Night Time Industries Association) has called for an extension to current VAT reduction to try and mitigate the impact of economic instability. More than 250 business owners have signed a letter urging the chancellor to extend these measures – this was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is pushing up the prices of wheat, gas, and oil.

Everywhere you go, it feels as though prices are increasing and our pay packets at the end of every month are shrinking. You may be feeling worried about the impact this will have on your business – if you are feeling like this, we can assure you you’re not alone. These figures and statements to the press are all a bit daunting, and the question remains; what does this mean for you? Well, in lieu of the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement next week, it is difficult to tell the full extent of support that will be available to you. However, research suggests that the hospitality industry will be key in the economy’s recovery over the next few years.

Statistics show that, with extra support from the government, the hospitality industry could be at the forefront of economic growth. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality. said: “With positive action from the government, however, such as keeping VAT at 12.5%, the sector can be part of the solution to the cost-of-living crisis.” This is an optimistic sentiment, and we can only hope that the government is listening to industry experts as the Spring Statement approaches.

Some companies have even offered to help Ukrainian refugees by giving them employment in this country within the leisure, hospitality, and retail sectors. This would go some way to helping the influx of vacancies that our industry is seeing, which is yet another factor in these rising costs. If you feel your business would benefit from this initiative, and would be able to benefit the lives of others, this would be a good way to helping you to manage both rising costs and staff shortages.

Words by Rebecca Clayton