The warning follows today’s data release showing an increase in unemployment of 24k. Last month, sector-specific figures showed a decrease of almost 54k employed in the last quarter of 2017.
UKH Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Today’s figures do not make for reassuring reading for the Government or our industry. Although the total number of unemployed remains relatively low, an increase in the rate of unemployment points to employer uncertainty and continually increasing barriers to investment.
“Last month’s figures show that the hospitality sector has been hit particularly hard. Businesses that have driven the revitalisation of high streets since the recession are now, once again, feeling the squeeze.
“We have repeatedly told the Government that the sector is facing a substantial barrier to further growth, mainly in the enormously disproportionate business rates bill that continues to cripple businesses. This will only be exacerbated when the increase hits in April; in all likelihood, leading to further unemployment as businesses struggle to swallow these cost burdens.
“If the Government does not act to support businesses by cutting costs, then we are only going to see a continued deceleration of growth in the sector and a further increase in the rate of unemployment.”