LETTER: Brexit and the jobs market

Both the local Chamber of Commerce and Hospitality Association are exercised about the possible loss of EU citizens, on whom the local hotel trade is said to be dependent [Herald, March 31].

The British Hospitality Association put out a statement recently saying that it would need 10 years for the indigenous population to be trained to take on the jobs that might be vacated because of Brexit. Which immediately begs the question: what have they been doing about such training up to now?

When I came to live in Eastbourne in the mid-80s, every hotel into which I ventured was manned almost entirely by home-grown staff, many of them local youngsters. Why did that not continue?

Because, I suggest, with enlargement of the EU, it became easier – and cheaper – to employ Eastern European staff. Similar arguments are put forward by the fruit growers of Lincolnshire and Norfolk: they need Romanian and Bulgarian workers because the Brits won’t do the work. How strange then that before enlargement, little more than 15 years ago, there was no appreciable shortage of spuds and strawberries.

As far as Eastbourne’s hospitality business is concerned, we have within our midst excellent training going on at our local campus of Brighton University. Perhaps it is time for the various interested Associations to pull their socks up and get on with alleviating some of the nation’s indigenous unemployment rate which, despite falling, still stands at 1.5 million.

EDWARD THOMAS

Collington Close