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Wed 7th Oct 2020 - Greene King urges government to provide tailored sector support as it announces pub closures and job cuts
Greene King urges government to provide tailored sector support as it announces pub closures and job cuts: Brewer and retailer Greene King has urged the government to step in and provide tailored support to the sector as it prepares to close dozens of venues and cut hundreds of jobs following a slump in trade exacerbated by the government’s 10pm hospitality industry curfew. The company has started a consultation with 800 employees about a redundancy process. Greene King, which has an estate of almost 1,700 managed pubs and 1,000 tenanted venues across Britain, said it would seek to redeploy affected staff wherever possible despite the continuing covid-19 crisis. In total, 79 of Greene King's pubs and restaurants will close, with roughly one-third of the closures expected to be permanent. The redundancies represent a small fraction of Greene King's 38,000-strong workforce but underline the anxiety of employers as the government's furlough scheme nears its end. Restaurant companies have already been forced into insolvency processes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while UKHospitality has forecast hundreds of thousands of jobs will disappear before Christmas without additional government support. Greene King's venue closures include 11 Loch Fyne restaurants, as reported by Propel last week, while other pub groups including Young's and Fuller’s are also in the process of cutting substantial numbers of jobs. A Greene King spokesman said: “Continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to government support was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs. Therefore, we have made the difficult decision not to reopen the 79 sites including the 11 Loch Fynes announced last week. We are working hard to find then another role where possible. We urgently need the government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses.” In a recent statement chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: “The industry is still dealing with the crippling aftereffects of the nationwide lock-down and the cumulative effect of the new restrictions, combined with the singling out of pubs, mean the measures announced by the chancellor don't go far enough, especially for drink-led city centre pubs. With Public Health England figures showing only 5% of all outbreaks are linked to hospitality, it feels like pubs are being unfairly targeted when there is little evidence that they enable the spread of covid-19.” 


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