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Tue 6th Oct 2020 - Sector will see ‘far higher’ than 500,000 jobs lost by end of year, UKHospitality boss warns MPs
Sector will see ‘far higher’ than 500,000 jobs lost by end of year, UKHospitality boss warns MPs: Pubs, bars and restaurants will see “far higher” than half a million job losses by the end 2020, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has warned MPs. Nicholls told the Treasury Select Committee a combination of the 10pm curfew, local lock-down restrictions and downturn in customer confidence has hit hospitality firms in recent weeks. She said about 900,000 hospitality workers remain on full furlough payments as parts of the sector remain “in stasis”. Nicholls said the group anticipated 560,000 additional job losses by the end of the year, following research two weeks ago, but now expects redundancies to be much more severe. She told MPs: “We are doing that data again but we anticipate it will be far higher due to local restrictions, the national constraints on events, working from home and the curfew.” Nicholls also sounded the alarm that redundancies are also expected to spike at the end of the month, when the current furlough scheme ends. The programme will be replaced by a less generous Jobs Support Scheme, which will see the government pay up to 22% of wages for workers who come back part time from 1 November. She told MPs: “We fear, unless there are amendments for those areas that are particularly hit, you won’t avoid the cliff-edge in October and we have got large numbers of redundancies that are forecast for that month because of how the Jobs Support Scheme is set up. There is a very real danger that we will lose large chunks of the economy – in hospitality we will have insolvent businesses, businesses going into administration and, therefore, that engine of growth for re-employing people will be lost for good. That’s what we need to be focusing on to make sure we support viable jobs for the future. In our sector, those on full-time and part-time furlough are in viable jobs in the long term.” Nicholls told MPs sector operators said recent restrictions have “moved them back to the trading levels they saw at the start of July”, regressing after the boost from Eat Out To Help Out. She added: “You are looking at 40% to 50% of normal revenues levels, or at 20% to 30% of normal revenue levels in city centre sites.”

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