Future mandatory wage rate increases should only be introduced after full consideration of economic pressures on businesses and take into account sector job losses, according to UKHospitality.

UKHospitality has met with the Low Pay Commission (LPC) this week to discuss wage rates and the impact on the sector. The meeting follows last week’s annual consultation by the LPC, to which UKHospitality responded.

UKHospitality has advised the LPC on how best to make National Minimum and Living Wage rates work in the current, challenging market and cautioned against proposals that could lead to job losses.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Increases in the rate of National Minimum or Living Wage will put more money into the pockets of our customers, but the Low Pay Commission needs to be cautious about further tightening margins for employers. Increases to wage rates must take into account the economic pressures being faced by employers, or the jobs themselves could be under threat.

“It is crucial that the LPC recognises this, along with recent closures in the sector when making its recommendations to the Government.

“The hospitality workforce is in a transitional phase as Brexit approaches and needs stability to adapt. This includes the retention of differential wage rates for younger employees to support youth employment and career progression.

“The Government can support work, training and the UK’s younger workers by reforming the apprenticeship system and bringing forward early introduction of T-levels urgently to help with workforce supply and development.”