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Thu 5th Nov 2020 - Furlough extended until March, fifth fewer jobs in sector, Wadworth
Chancellor extends furlough scheme until March: Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the furlough scheme will be extended until March. It means the government will continue to pay 80% of staff wages, up to a maximum of £2,500, after the scheduled end of the lockdown on 2 December. Employers will only need to pay the cost of pension and national insurance contributions. Sunak said the job retention bonus – a £1,000 payment to firms for retaining furloughed staff until the end of January, expected to cost up to £9bn – would be scrapped because of the new extension in furlough. Furlough funding has also been guaranteed for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland if devolved administrations bring in their own lockdowns. The policy will be reviewed in January, he told the Commons, to “decide whether economic circumstances are improving enough to ask employers to contribute more”. “Our highest priority remains the same – to protect jobs and livelihoods,” Sunak said. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls tweeted: “This is good news and a welcome breathing space for hospitality businesses that were facing ongoing restrictions after national lockdown ends – thanks to Rishi Sunak for continuing to listen and evolve schemes in response to business concerns and changing circumstances.” Sunak also announced support for the self-employed, with the next income support grant for November to January increasing to 80% of average profits up to £7,500. When prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday (31 October) a second lockdown for England, it was confirmed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would be extended for an extra month. Once the lockdown ends, England will move back into the tier system that was introduced last month.

More than 20% of jobs in hospitality have disappeared versus October last year: There are a fifth fewer jobs in hospitality while recruitment is at a standstill, according to software provider Fourth. The company’s latest study indicates the number of job leavers continues to significantly outweigh the number of new starters, a trend seen throughout August and September, since the industry began reopening following the first lockdown. Among the findings are: there have been 500,000 sector job losses since January, a 21% drop in overall staff headcount compared to October 2019, there were approximately three leavers for every one starter throughout October, total staff headcount across SMEs was down by 23.3% versus October 2019 – and the figure dropped by 16.8% for large scale, national operators. Fourth’s data, which has been aggregated from analysis of over 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar and QSR sectors, reveals a further 21,337 hospitality workers lost their job in October, representing 7.5% of the total workforce, which tracks in line with the previous three months. The pub sector experienced the least impact, with a 5% reduction in workforce, followed by QSRs with a drop of 6%, and restaurants with an 8% drop. The hotel sector was most impacted, with a 10% drop in workforce. Overall, the data reveals the workforce shrunk by 21% in October 2020, versus the same month in 2019. Once again, the pub sector experienced the least negative impact, with a drop in labour of 18% over the course of the month. This was followed by QSRs, with a drop of 20%, and the restaurant sector with a 22% drop. The most impacted sector, again, was hotels, where there was a 24% reduction of labour when compared to last year. Sebastien Sepierre, managing director – EMEA, Fourth, said: “October was another incredibly challenging month for the hospitality sector, with further government-imposed restrictions impacting trading and consumer confidence. While entering a second lockdown is incredibly difficult for the sector, we hope that the extension of the furlough scheme will provide essential support to businesses to enable them to get through the coming weeks and months. It’s vital the whole sector is kept informed and given enough warning about what will happen when the lockdown is scheduled to end. Effective planning will be key to how operators emerge and best prepare for success as they come out of lockdown.”

Welham to depart Wadworth as company leadership comes back into family fold: Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth has announced chief executive Chris Welham is to leave the company in December having led the business for five years. As part of a restructure, Toby Bartholomew, son of chairman Charles Bartholomew, will take over as managing director. Charles Bartholomew said: “Chris has been a loyal and dedicated member of the board and has led us through a considerable period of change. It was always the intention for Chris to oversee an orderly transition of his duties to a family director. I am pleased to confirm Toby Bartholomew will become managing director of Wadworth once Chris has left us. My sincere thanks go to Chris for the way he has led our business over the years and also for the help and support he and his team have given to Toby. Chris goes with our best wishes and huge appreciation for his considerable contribution to the company. I am delighted Toby will take over and the leadership of the company once again comes back into the family fold as planned following Chris’ tenure.”

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