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UK News ALEX BRUMMER: Why DO young Brits think serving at pub beneath them?

02:40  15 september  2021
02:40  15 september  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail Updated: 23:24 BST, 14 July 2008. In the U.S. the authorities stepped in to rescue the home loan giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac amid fears that immeasurable damage would be done to the housing market and that the already stuttering economy might crash down. Closer to home, the family-dominated Spanish bank Santander, owner of high street lender Abbey, cunningly moved to buy another retail bank, Alliance & Leicester, at a bargain basement price.

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Kelly Schembri standing on a table: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Those of us looking forward to an autumnal jaunt to the countryside for a pub Sunday lunch are in for a shock. Service ain’t what it used to be.

From five-star hotels to your spit-and-sawdust city-centre boozer, the hospitality sector nationwide is reeling from a shortage of staff.

Instead of the smiling, keen-as-mustard workers recruited from Europe and beyond, customers face young Brits with minimal training who can be surly and resentful — and who often think the job is beneath them.

That is, of course, if the establishment you frequent has been lucky enough to persuade them to take a job in the first place!

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ALEX BRUMMER : There is scant comfort for Britain in seeing China - the source of the deadly Covid-19 virus - emerging so rapidly and strongly from the crisis (pictured, medical staff in Wuhan). A medical staff member from Jilin Province tears up during a ceremony before leaving as Tianhe Airport is reopened in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. Chinese workers and health officials wear protective white suits as travellers from Wuhan gather to take buses as they are processed and taken to do 14 days of quarantine.

The truth is that a combination of Covid and Brexit, which has seen younger EU workers quit Britain to sit out the pandemic back home, is reshaping our labour force.

Kelly Schembri standing in front of a restaurant: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a group of people sitting at a table: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Reality

On the positive side it has meant the Bank of England’s 2020 prediction of an unemployment catastrophe arising from the Covid economic meltdown has been averted.

In May 2020, the Bank forecast 7.5 per cent unemployment this year, or three million people on the dole. Just 4.7 per cent of the workforce were jobless in the three months to June, against 6.9 per cent in the Eurozone in July.

But with some 1.3 million EU workers having left these shores in recent years, younger Brits must face up to the reality of what that means.

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By Alex Brummer for the Daily Mail Updated: 09:51 BST, 17 September 2008. Such a move would be an extraordinary development, especially as HBOS was sensible enough to withdraw from rash mortgage lending in early 2007, leaving Northern Rock to take up the slack. However, until house prices in Britain find a bottom and the green shoots of economic recovery start to appear, those British banks with the heaviest exposure to property lending will be vulnerable as they remain in the line of fire of nervous big battalion investors.

Speaking to broadcasters in March, Mr Raab said: 'The ambassador here will be summoned and we will explain in very clear terms the position both in relation to the MPs and other figures who have spoken out, but also that we will not be silenced in terms of speaking out about these human rights abuses. 'And I think you'll see - as we saw only this week with 30 countries, including the UK, united in imposing sanctions on those abusing the Uighur Muslims and others in Xinjiang - that pressure continue to grow and to rise.'

Being a more self-sufficient country requires us to be more self-reliant, too. That means harvesting our own fruit and veg, driving our own trucks and ensuring some of the 2.3 million or so jobs in the hospitality industry are topped up.

Yet, even with employment back at pre-Covid levels, unemployment falling and job vacancies at a record high, the signs aren’t promising.

Aside from the crisis in pubs and restaurants, elsewhere runner beans are rotting on the vines, turnips mouldering in the ground, apples withering in the orchards and supermarket shelves empty precisely because of a lack of home-grown workers willing to take on such tasks.

a group of people walking in front of a building: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

One might argue that this reluctance to roll up our sleeves has been the British way for decades. Earlier this week, on my way to the Daily Mail’s office in West London, I walked past a scene which could have come straight out of a 1960s Shepperton comedy.

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Ford, on day release, served 17 years after receiving a life sentence for murdering Amanda Champion (pictured right) during an unprovoked attack in July 2003. 'Amanda was just walking home that day that Ford murdered her. A the time she was 21 but had the mental age of a 15-year-old. Amanda was found dead by someone walking on land off Mead Road, Ashford, on the night of 26 July in 2003. She had been reported missing 11 days earlier and had not been at work for more than three weeks. Within minutes of killing her, Ford called the Samaritans, told them what he had done and hung up.

When Mr Ward was facing his first weekend alone, his parents said he could stay at home with them in Lincoln, but he turned them down because he was due to see them the following two weekends. The inquest heard he told his parents: 'Don't be silly, I can't see you three weekends in a row.' 'I was concerned about him but I didn't do anything about that apart from talk to him and I have lots of what-ifs, what if we did more? 'Covid was not the reason he took his life but it didn't help, the social isolation didn't help. I don't think he liked having to stay overnight away from his support network in Bristol.'

A group of half a dozen construction workers, in hi-viz jackets and hard hats, were standing in a circle armed with mugs of tea, chatting or looking at their phones seemingly without a care in the world. OK, they may have been on a tea break but I could not get the image out of my head.

For me, it captured perfectly how the pandemic and the financial safety net provided by the furlough scheme has changed attitudes to work.


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As this paper has reported, even some of the highest-paid individuals are having to be bribed back to their desks.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs wants everyone back in, and as an incentive is offering returning traders and bankers free luncheons at the firm’s fancy roof terrace eaterie.

Other employers are offering enticing perks, including flexible working and signing-on bonuses of £1,000. Online grocer Ocado is spending an extra £5 million on incentives to attract new drivers.

This week, a senior Whitehall official told the public accounts committee many civil servants will never return to the office. Yes, they are ‘working from home’, but the work ethic can be very different in a home office to that of a real office.

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The loss of the work habit is startling. In spring 2020, the proportion of the 16 to 64 workforce classified as ‘economically inactive’ by the Office for National Statistics was falling fast as the UK’s job creation machine was in top gear.

The latest data shows that there are 8.7 million people, or 21.1 per cent of the workforce, not on anyone’s payrolls. Nor are they actively looking for work. Yet, the jobs market is sizzling, proving the vibrancy of the UK’s recovery that we must not lose sight of, while accepting the drawbacks.

Commenting on the publication of the latest official employment data, the City forecaster Capital Economics stated: ‘Labour market slack is declining fast and the labour shortages are contributing to faster underlying pay growth.’

Headline growth in average pay stood at 8.3 per cent in July (down slightly from June) as vacancies grew and employers struggled to persuade people back into the workforce.

It was this jump in average wages that forced Boris Johnson to backtrack last week on a manifesto pledge to raise the state pension by the greater of average wages, retail price inflation (RPI) or 2.5 per cent.

a sign on a wooden surface: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Disaster

The pay surge will hopefully tempt both the unemployed and some of the economically inactive — two distinct groups — back into work.

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There are indications this is happening with the broadest measure of employment, the Labour Force Survey, showing 183,000 people re-joined the workforce in July. That is the largest number since January 2020, the eve of the pandemic.

This is impressive as it was during the summer that government help for firms using furlough began to fade, with employers picking up 10 per cent of the bill.

The better outcomes continued in August, with the number of people on pay-as-you-earn jumping by 241,000. This may explain the confidence of Chancellor Rishi Sunak that when furlough ends later this month there will not be a jobs disaster.

The bigger problem identified by Britain’s employers, though, is the mismatch between the record number of one million reported vacancies and people with the right skills to fill them. The HGV driver shortage is the most obvious issue, which is why the Government is temporarily easing licence rules to get supplies to stores for Christmas.

a man wearing a suit and tie: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

Critical

Apart from hospitality, other sectors crying out for more staff are health, social care and technology. If workers coming off furlough — and for whom no jobs exist — are to be redeployed in these sectors, it is not just wages that will have to adjust, but training for new skills and attitudes — not least the satisfaction of providing good service.

The value of getting Britain back into work is demonstrated by the improvement in the public finances. Higher income tax, National Insurance (prior to the recent hike) and VAT revenues mean that the Chancellor has £25 billion more in his back pocket going into next month’s budget and public spending review than he expected in March.

The more people in work, the more tax revenue generated and the more cash there is for education, the NHS and critical public services.

The money tree is better fertilised by work, enterprise and entrepreneurship than by yet more borrowing and debt.

We may all have to put up with inconveniences — waiting a little longer for our gourmet fish pie at the pub or staying in all day for the plumber — and pay more for the privilege. Although supermarkets may be able to absorb higher costs, small firms and parts of the hospitality sector will have to raise their charges.

If, however, shortages in the labour market lead to improved pay and conditions for home-grown workers — and are tempting enough to attract economically inactive but able citizens back into work — it will be a price worth paying.

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