By Jacob Phillips
Businesses in London’s world-famous shopping streets have been struggling to hire thousands of workers needed to welcome tourists back post-pandemic.
Thousands of vacancies have been left unfilled in the West End after stores, cafes and restaurants shut and visitors and shoppers stayed away.
Nationally there are 178,000 vacancies in the accommodation and food sectors – the highest number since records began in 2001.
Westminster City Council is now investing £1million in the area’s business improvement districts (BIDs) to try and fill thousands of hospitality and tourist jobs.
New West End Company and the Knightsbridge Partnership, which represent about 900 businesses in Central London, will work to support companies struggling to hire staff in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The council hopes 2,200 people can be employed in the area over the next two years.
Across the country, one in eight hospitality jobs are unfilled and Westminster City Council fears the figure could be even higher for Central London and there will not be enough staff working when tourist numbers return to pre-pandemic numbers.
The council’s new scheme will help connect businesses with job seekers, colleges and training centres.
Westminster City Council will also look into what barriers may be stopping people from entering the hospitality industry.
At the height of the pandemic, 20 per cent of shops in Oxford Street were forced to close their doors for good. Businesses on the iconic shopping street were losing up to 80 per cent of revenue.
Pictured top: Oxford Street (Picture: Tony Webster/Flickr)