The leaders of some of the UK’s largest hospitality firms have criticised the Government for continually ‘undermining’ and undervaluing the industry.

A survey of chief executive from 41 companies including YO! Sushi, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, and Travelodge by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and search firm Heidrick & Struggles found that majority felt that relations with politicians had not improved in the last year.

Many were angry that the Government had not consulted the sector over the introduction of the National Living Wage in April, even though the rise is expected to cost the industry £13.2m by 2020.

One anonymous CEO said: “The industry can’t help but feel undermined by the ill-thought-out decisions.”

Another added: “We employ over a million people and they didn’t ever ask us what the impact is.”

An additional company leader warned that there will be ‘lots of unintended consequences in the short and medium term’ following the change.

One restaurant CEO added that further legislation would cause ‘human interaction’ to be ‘stripped out’ of his business by causing the firm to invest in automation.

But while the majority of participants actually viewed the National Living Wage as a positive move, all those questioned felt that the Government-imposed changes had happened ‘too quickly’ and their businesses needed more ‘time to plan’.

Though the sector has created one-third of all new jobs for 16-24-year-olds, many CEO’s said that the Government still lacked an understanding of the sector and how to engage with it.

However, one hotelier argued that more engagement was needed from both sides, adding that he felt ‘incredibly frustrated by everyone who complains about the lack of Government engagement and then doesn’t turn up to events held with Government’.

The above story first appeared on MCA’s sister title BigHospitality’s website.