I have received an email from my daughter’s primary school advising us that Lancashire county council has had to offer a reduced school dinners menu due to supply chain issues. We are required to pick from a menu basically consisting of soup and a sandwich or a baked potato. Once again, the most vulnerable in society will suffer as a result of this government’s abject failure to plan for the after-effects of Brexit. For many children who are in receipt of free school meals, it is the only hot, nutritious meal they receive in a day.
I have no doubt that House of Commons restaurants will be offering a wider menu than soup and a sandwich or a baked potato.
Re your report (Nando’s and Deliveroo chiefs join hospitality council to help crisis-hit UK sector, 29 September), this is overdue recognition of the issues facing the hospitality industry, particularly in relation to recruiting and retaining staff. The industry has faced the perfect storm as a combination of Brexit and Covid-19 meet an already precarious and low-paid sector. Our recent research into the experiences of hospitality workers in Scotland, both before and during the pandemic (and similar findings in Ireland), point to a significant increase in customer aggression and abuse aimed at the workforce, with little or no management intervention. In these circumstances, is it surprising that hospitality is facing these staffing issues?
Therefore, it is disappointing that the council will bring together sector leaders and associations but, unless I read your report incorrectly, will not include employee representatives. Frontline hospitality workers are best placed to know what changes should be made. One wonders whether it is ideological myopia that has prevented their inclusion?
Prof Tom Baum
Department of work, employment and organisation, University of Strathclyde
Good to see army personnel training as tanker drivers (Fuel crisis: UK government mobilises reserve tanker fleet and army, 29 September). Perhaps they can then retrain as nurses, then as GPs, then cancer consultants, paediatric psychiatrists, police officers and restaurant chefs.