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News & Views

Youth scheme could help fill hospitality vacancies

A £1 billion youth contract programme announced in November by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, could help the hospitality sector fill vacant posts.

The scheme, which aims to put 160,000 18 to 24 year olds in work over the next three years, comes at an opportune time for the sector as it gears itself for the 2012 Olympics and other major events. Under the scheme, which comes into effect from April 2012, private sector employers and trainers across England, Scotland and Wales will be entitled to wage subsidies worth £2,275 per person taken on.


addition, there will be at least 20,000 additional incentive payments for firms in England to take on 16 to 24-year-old as apprentices.

People 1st, the sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism is optimistic about the

initiative. “Businesses have much to gain from this scheme, particularly if they can access a new pool of talented work-ready people who have success- fully completed pre-employment train- ing in hospitality and travel,” claims Brian Wisdom, chief executive at People 1st. “By completing the Employment 1st programme, which People 1st has developed with Jobscentre Plus, individuals have demonstrated that they are interested in a career in our sector and have acquired and understood the basic principles and knowledge required by employers. They generally come out more con- fident in their abilities, develop good customer service skills and grasp health and safety and basic food hygiene practices.”

Thousands of people this year have successfully completed Employment

1st at Newham College, City College Norwich and many others around the UK. Many have gone on to work for well-known hospitality brands and retail outlets such as TGI Friday’s, Jamie’s Italian and John Lewis at Westfield Stratford City.

Employment 1st is an intensive and interactive 60-hour course that pre- pares people looking for their first job in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry. A total of 13 job roles are covered, including chef, barista, travel agent, leisure and theme park attendant, conference/ exhibition manager, bar staff, catering supervisor, crew member, customer service staff, waiting staff, hotel porter, housekeeper and kitchen porter. Those who successfully complete the programme are signposted to jobs with good employers through People 1st’s advice, careers and guidance site.

Edinburgh restaurateurs detained in tax raids

Two restaurateurs from Edinburgh have been detained on suspicion of failing to pay the right amount of tax, in an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Four business and domestic premises were visited in Edinburgh yesterday, as part of the ongoing taskforce operation targeting restaurants across Scotland.

The taskforces are specialist teams that are undertaking intensive bursts of compliance activity targeting specific high risk trade sectors and locations across the UK.

Mike Wells, HMRC’s Director of Risk and Intelligence, says, “These raids and the detention of people suspected

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of not declaring income from the work they do - are part of co-ordinated activ- ity targeting the restaurant trade in Scotland. These taskforces will come down hard on restaurants that have deliberately chosen to break the rules and evade the taxes they should be paying. Honest businesses have abso- lutely nothing to worry about. However, if you deliberately seek to evade tax, HMRC can and will track you down. You will then face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”

Taskforces are a direct result of the Government’s £900m spending review re-investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud, which aims to

5 January 2012

raise an additional £7 billion each year by 2014/15. HMRC is planning 12 taskforces in 2011/12, the first of which was launched in May, with more to follow in 2012/13.

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