The lack of affordable housing in rural Perthshire is the âbiggest driverâ of hotel staff shortages, according to a city councilor.
Highland Perthshire has been particularly hard hit, with some businesses having to temporarily shut down or reduce their service.
Both Brexit and COVID have played their part in the staff shortage.
But Mike Williamson, member of the Highland Perthshire SNP, says housing is the main problem.
He told the Perthshire Advertiser he had heard that there were up to 18 vacancies for chefs in Highland Perthshire at one time.
Cllr Williamson believes that due to Brexit there was “less staff to cover these jobs”.
But he also said: âThe most important factor is the lack of accommodation to house the staff. Lack of accommodation contributes to what happened before COVID. “
Scotland’s oldest hostel is one of the last hostels to be hit by staff issues.
Management at the Kenmore Hotel – in business since 1572 – announced this month that it will not be serving an evening meal until September 19.
A notice posted on the hotel’s website said, âWe are sincerely sorry for the disruption we know these changes may cause, if we are successful in recruiting and training during these times we will add to our operation. We made the decision early on to allow our clients to plan their arrangements locally.
“We are not the only ones facing the challenges we are facing right now, other local restaurants are also suffering and changing their opening days and times in a relatively short period of time, we advise you to book as early as possible to avoid further disappointment. “
The Queen’s View Visitor Center is just another location in Highland Perthshire that has been forced to close several times during the summer due to understaffing.
There are many more.
Trade union adviser Alasdair Bailey also highlighted the need for more affordable housing in rural Perthshire.
Speaking on behalf of the independent and Labor group on the council, he said: âBetween us we hear of far too many low-income people having to travel long distances to work because housing close to workplaces is overpriced, especially in popular tourist areas. “
At last week’s housing and communities committee meeting, Cllr Bailey asked for numbers on how many people are on the council’s waiting list.
Perth housing and Kinross council manager Clare Mailer told councilors there were around 3,300 people on the list, but said many have yet to be assessed for needs in housing.
A statement on the PKC website states: âUnfortunately, there is an excess demand for affordable housing in Perth and Kinross. There are around 1,000 vacancies every year in the housing stock of the partners listed above, but there are currently around 3,000 applicants on the waiting list.
âThis means that we are not in a position to offer a property to everyone who asks for housing. Those who receive an offer will be people in urgent need of housing, such as homeless people, people with medical needs and families living in overcrowded housing.
The Perthshire North MSP and COVID Recovery Secretary John Swinney have said the UK’s exit from the European Union is to blame.
Mr Swinney told the Perthshire Advertiser: ‘We can clearly see that the pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on businesses – particularly the service and hospitality sectors. These pressures were amplified by the Tories’ unnecessary and harmful Brexit, which prevented business owners and farmers from recruiting staff due to the end to freedom of movement.