● Restaurant failures up by 25%
The rate of restaurant insolvencies has risen 25% over the last nine months, giving warning that the industry could be facing its quietest Christmas since the 1990s, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The first quarter of the year saw a record number of restaurants fail, with 183 becoming insolvent. The following six months were a mixed bag for hospitality as the weak pound prompted an influx of overseas tourists and a summer surge in domestic tourists. However, the number of failures overall is up by 25% in the nine months to September, compared with the same period last year.
The insolvency rate is expected to peak again in the new year, precipitated by the fall in spending from both the public and private sectors, and a squeeze on corporate spending, PwC said.
● Recruitment freezes start to thaw
Employers are still keeping a tight rein on pay, but recruitment freezes are starting to thaw and some of the dramatic changes made to working patterns during the recession are now easing, research has shown.
In a survey of 243 employers by the CBI and recruitment firm Harvey Nash, half said they are planning to freeze pay. But the number of employers operating a recruitment freeze has dropped from 61% in the spring to 37%. Also, fewer firms see the need for extreme cost-control measures, such as extended shut-downs, cuts in overtime and bringing forward holidays.
● Apprenticeship recognition
The Government has launched a scheme to recognise businesses that employ apprentices. Employers will be able to display a badge to highlight their commitment to apprenticeships and their logos will be displayed on the Apprenticeships website.
Recent research commissioned by the National Apprenticeship Service showed that more than 80% of people are more likely to use a business if it offers apprenticeships to young people.