SOMETIMES when you watch and listen to Prime Minister Theresa May and her Cabinet go about the business of moving towards Brexit, you really do wonder when reality is going to bite for them.

There is certainly no denying their bullishness, which is seemingly being driven by some great sense of Britishness. However, it is difficult to imagine they can remain so seemingly utterly unperturbed by the inevitable consequences of the UK electorate’s Brexit vote, and their subsequent approach, for too much longer.

Such consequences look even more inevitable given Mrs May’s signal last week that the Conservative Government is determined to take the UK out of the single market, with control of immigration flagged as a key priority.

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So it is absolutely crucial the UK Government, before too much more time passes, takes a long, hard look at what its topsy-turvy priorities, seemingly fuelled by a worrying anti-immigration stance among some of the electorate, will actually mean for companies and the economy.

It should be falling over itself to make it as easy as possible for those workers from other European Union countries on which Scotland and the rest of the UK relies to stay here. To make them feel welcome. Mrs May and her ministers could take a leaf out of the Scottish Government’s book in this regard.

Comments and statistics this week from Edinburgh-based Apex Hotels and a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) should provide the UK’s Brexit squad with plenty of food for thought.

Angela Vickers, chief executive officer of Apex Hotels, has warned the UK’s move towards Brexit will make it more difficult for the company to recruit employees.

She also pointed out that, of a workforce of more than 1,000 at Apex’s hotels in Scotland and England, about 44 per cent are from overseas. And she noted 76 per cent of Apex’s housekeeping staff in London come from other EU countries, with many from Romania.

The dependence of the UK hospitality industry, and many others, on workers from fellow EU member states, as well as from other overseas countries, is something of which many people are aware.

Hopefully, this awareness extends to Mrs May and members of her Cabinet, even if this is far from apparent.

Read more: Theresa May trying to 'muzzle' MPs by rushing Brexit Bill through Commons, says Labour MP

Whatever the case, the figures provided by Ms Vickers do really highlight the scale of the challenge presented to the hospitality industry by the Leave vote. And by the UK Government’s seeming determination to pursue a “hard Brexit” option involving an exit from the European single market.

Ms Vickers flagged emerging difficulties in recruiting housekeeping staff in London. And she highlighted her belief that the recruitment issue would “really start to kick in over the next eight to 12 months”.

Colin Morrison, at the Auchrannie hotel and spa resort on the Isle of Arran, warned earlier this month that an end to the free movement of people as a result of Brexit could leave Scottish hospitality businesses unable to fill positions.

He expressed concerns that Auchrannie could lose long-serving, valued employees from other EU countries, and that it might be unable to recruit seasonal staff from other countries in the European single market.

Mr Morrison said: “It must be a concern given we have a reasonably high number of European Union staff, some of whom have been here a good number of years and who are very settled on the island, with families at school.”

He added: “Obviously, the contribution they make here is greatly valued and anything that made it more difficult for them to work here or for people to come and work here from the EU would be difficult for us, as I guess it is for the whole of the hospitality industry.”

Read more: Theresa May trying to 'muzzle' MPs by rushing Brexit Bill through Commons, says Labour MP

What Mr Morrison says is perfect common sense. Yet the reality he highlights appears still to be entirely lost on the Brexit camp.

Walkers Shortbread is among other Scottish companies to have highlighted worries over staffing in the wake of the Brexit vote. Joint managing director Jim Walker expressed fears the EU referendum outcome could prompt some of his company’s overseas workers to leave the country.

Information technology trade organisation ScotlandIS and industry body Scottish Engineering have also flagged the importance of access to talent from elsewhere in the EU to their sectors.

The FSB's latest survey highlights the very significant proportion of its members, operating across a vast array of sectors, who are reliant on the efforts of workers from other EU countries. It shows that around 26 per cent of smaller Scottish employers, who are so crucial to the overall economy, have non-UK EU citizens as part of their workforces.

Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “As a minimum, [the] FSB wants the UK Government to guarantee that EU citizens currently in the Scottish workforce – whether as employees or running their own business – have the right to stay here.”

From a social and economic perspective, the UK Government must avoid any temptation to stir things up on the immigration front just to appease certain sections of the electorate.

It must make certain everything is put in place to ensure the EU talent pool to which UK employers have access is still freely available after Brexit. And it must, by word and deed, reassure workers from other EU countries who have already moved here that they will still be wanted here after Brexit. This is something that is absolutely crucial, given many of these workers will have plenty of options to go elsewhere during the protracted period of great and likely shambolic uncertainty between now and the UK’s eventual exit from the EU.