Weekly update: GDP, additional costs of disability and Fair Work in the hospitality industry

New UK GDP Data

Today’s UK GDP release showed us that the UK economy grew by 0.1% in February. This follows on from growth of 0.3% in January (revised upwards from 0.2% previously).

Growth came from some parts of the the services sector, with production and construction both contracting.

Whilst the data for January and February raise hopes that the UK economy will emerge from technical recession in the first quarter of 2024, they still show an economy struggling, with output below where it was this time last year.

Additional costs of disability

The Scottish Parliamentary Information Centre (SPICe) this week published a blog co-authored by FAI’s Chirsty McFadyen and Laura Robertson from the Poverty Alliance on the additional costs of disability. This follows on from a piece of work carried out for the Economy and Fair Work committee that looked at evidence of additional expenditure from survey data and interviews with disabled people.

A figure of additional costs are difficult issue to pin down. Whilst there is consistent evidence of additional expenditure due to disability, this differs from person to person based on a number of factors, including where they live and the nature of their disability. This obviously poses difficulties for trying to assess what level of support should be provided to cover additional costs of disability through devolved benefits such as the Adult Disability Payment.

In summary: “an effective evidence-based policy to meet additional costs of disability will need to recognise that rather than assuming a one size fits all approach will suffice.” Read the full report here:

Fair Work Levers for Hospitality

The Fair Work Convention published a couple of reports this week, one looking at Fair Work levers (authored by fellow Strathclyders at the Scottish Centre for Employment Research) and the view of those in the industry on how these could/should be used. The report highlights key challenges in the hospitality industry: rising costs, housing and transport availability, retention issues, uneven service demands, and visa restrictions. Fair work challenges included low pay, unsocial hours, and training difficulties.

Those involved in the research debated how to prioritise business challenges over fair work improvements:

“some thought addressing business challenges took precedence before improving fair work; others felt prioritising fair work could help address businesses challenges”

The key findings from the report, including the range of opinions on the way forward, echoes a lot of what we’ve heard from businesses in our own research  hospitality through the Serving the Future project. Read the full SCER report here:



Emma Congreve is a Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow and Deputy Director at the Fraser of Allander Institute. Emma's work at the Institute is focussed on policy analysis, covering a wide range of areas of social and economic policy.  Emma is an experienced economist and has previously held roles as a senior economist at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and as an economic adviser within the Scottish Government.