The warning follows data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which showed that the number of unemployed people had risen by 24,000 1.45 million. Last month, sector-specific figures showed a decrease of almost 54,000 employed in the last quarter of 2017.
The newly formed trade association’s CEO, Kate Nicholls, said: “Last month’s figures show that the hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard, businesses that have driven the revitalisation of high streets since the recession are now, once again, feeling the squeeze.”
She added that the UKH has repeatedly told government figures the sector faces a substantial barrier to further growth because of the “enormously disproportionate business rates bill that continues to cripple businesses”. She said: “This will only be exacerbated when the increase hits in April; in all likelihood, leading to further unemployment as businesses struggle to swallow these cost burdens.
“If the government does not act to support businesses by cutting costs, then we are only going to see a continued deceleration of growth in the sector and a further increase in the rate of unemployment.”