Hoteliers raise Brexit concerns with city MP
- Credit: Archant
Hoteliers raised questions about Brexit and freedom of movement as they came face-to-face with a city MP.
The Norwich Area Hoteliers Association met with MP Chloe Smith to discuss concerns about the UK's departure from the EU and what it could mean for their futures.
The association, which is made up of members of the local hospitality industry, is concerned about the implications of Brexit on their businesses, and met Ms Smith as part of a series of roundtable discussions she is holding with key Norwich sectors.
Asked how Brexit would impact on the hospitality industry over the next two years, Ms Smith, MP for Norwich North, said the government's second phase of negotiations with Brussels – after the so-called divorce arrangement had been settled – would look to put structures into place to offer businesses certainty.
The British Hospitality Association has been among the organisations warning of the risks of an ill-thought-through Brexit, and says restricting the movement of workers could lead to a shortfall of 60,000 staff a year across the country.
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A report for the BHA, carried out by KPMG, calculated that nearly one in four workers in the industry is from the EU, including three-quarters of waiting staff and a quarter of chefs.
Ms Smith said negotiations would look at the movement of people, including staff and customers from the EU, as well as issues impacting on employers and the pound.
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'We want to see EU citizens continue working here and for British citizens to be welcome in other European countries,' she said, adding the hospitality industry could still employ 'great people' from Europe.
However, she said Brexit would allow the industry to look at employees from outside the European Union too.
'But I'd like you to first think of having that amazing employee from Norwich,' she said. 'By all means we can talk about Europe and the world but let's talk about Norwich and Norfolk first.
'We all want there to be a continued pipeline of really good people who are finding opportunities in the city they have grown up in.'
She added: 'Government's duty is to look at how to keep the economy strong so you [business] have a stable and prosperous environment.'