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UK hospitality bosses back Remain

As many as 74 per cent of UK hospitality companies to vote Remain, BHA report reveals

Pictured: The BHA and Heidrick & Struggles’ Travel, Leisure and Hospitality Practice have released their report, Leading Through Complexity

Three-quarters of the UK's biggest hospitality operators will vote to remain in the EU, and say the government is 'out of touch' with the industry during this period of economic fragility.

In a report by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), Leading Through Complexity, 74 per cent of the industry leaders backed Remain, 18 per cent wanted to leave and 8 per cent were undecided.

The 41 respondents, who are bosses at leading hospitality companies in the UK and responsible for a collective £30 billion in sales, also said  confidence in the economy had decreased, and that they felt the government was failing them by a lack of action.

BHA CEO Ufi Ibrahim said: "The business leaders interviewed in this report represent a very important voice. They feel that the economic recovery is fragile and consumer confidence easily knocked. This, together with the uncertainty and lack of clarity in the referendum debate, is already having a detrimental effect on the industry.

“They also share a feeling of frustration that government is still out of touch and is failing the industry, due to an apparent lack of interest when it comes to policy development for tourism and hospitality."

The introduction of the Living Wage was cited as an example of lack of government consultation, with respondents saying it was introduced with "little or no consultation" with the industry.

Ben Twynam, from Heidrick & Struggles’ Travel, Leisure and Hospitality Practice, who co-authored the report, said: "As the business leaders we spoke with note, it is vital that the hospitality industry is able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. At the same time, it is increasingly difficult to foresee where these game-changers are going to come from. As such, widening the talent pool to attract leaders with the ability to create agile organisations and deal with unpredictability and change has never been more important."

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