New data from the pub industry released today showed that almost a quarter of hospitality businesses think they will go bust by the end of the year without new government support.
Yesterday Boris Johnson unveiled sweeping new measures to curb a rise in coronavirus cases, including a 10pm curfew on all hospitality firms.
The move, which the sector slammed as “devastating”, heaps pressure on an industry which had just begun to recover from the spring’s lockdown.
The survey, which was carried out by market researchers CGA on behalf of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), UKHospitality and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) before the announcement was made, showed that 23 per cent of their members expect to fail in the next three months unless further help is given.
Thus far, one in eight hospitality staff have already been made redundant, with many more jobs expected to be lost when the furlough scheme ends in October.
Although chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil a new “winter economy package” tomorrow, both he and PM Boris Johnson have heavily hinted that the initiative will not be extended.
On average, the businesses surveyed said that they expected their workforces to be 25 per cent lower this coming February than a year previously – a loss of 675,000 jobs in just 12 months.
In order to stave off such a situation, the bodies have called for a new sector-specific employment package, as well an extension of the business rates holiday and VAT cut on restaurant food.
The proposals echo those made by a group of the UK’s most prominent fast food chains earlier this evening.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said that the sector was “already teetering on the edge” before the new restrictions were announced.
She said if the government did not take extra steps to prop up the sector, it would be “unforgivable”
“Only by taking these measures can the Government save our pubs, hospitality businesses and as many as 540,000 jobs. If the Government doesn’t act now it would be unforgiveable.”
UK Hospitality chief executive Katie Nicholls agreed, saying that the future of the sector was “still in the balance”.
“Many venues have still have not reopened and those that have are operating at reduced capacity and a fraction of normal revenue. We have already had some high-profile casualties and far too many job losses”, she said.
“The additional restrictions announced this week place even further burdens on a sector that is operating with razor-thin margins and needs all the help it can get. It is vital that these restrictions are reviewed regularly.”