Urgent appeal to protect hospitality jobs

Hospitality businesses are calling for more support from the Government.

Hospitality businesses are calling for more support from the Government. - Credit: Archant

Hospitality businesses have joined forces to call on the Government for urgent support to help them survive the winter.

Businesses warn they are at risk of failure and hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost without Government action, following the introduction of the new curfew restrictions.

Scores of business and industry leaders including Burger King, J D Wetherspoon, Prezzo, Caffe Nero and Hall and Woodhouse – which have branches in North Somerset - have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for action.

The letter states: “Our sector has been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic and many businesses have already sadly closed forever, with the remainder fighting for survival.

“For tens of thousands of small pub business operators, these are their homes as well as their livelihoods.

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“Even prior to this, one half of hospitality businesses did not believe they would survive beyond the middle of next year. Many have not even yet had the chance to re-open, such as nightclubs and the events sector.

“The latest restrictions have made this fight to survive even harder.

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“Town and city centre businesses - re-opened as people were urged to return to offices - will now be shut down.

“Across the country, the 10pm curfew has removed key trading hours for all of us vital to our survival, removing whole shifts from food-led businesses.”

The industry representatives want a review of the measures every three weeks and for the curfew to be removed if it is not working as intended.

They are also calling for a new package of grant funding for businesses that face restrictions to be brought forward, as well as an extension to the VAT and beer duty cuts and business rates holiday.

The letter concludes: “Sector-specific restrictions deserve sector-specific support. However, the package announced by the Chancellor does not go nearly far enough for our imperilled sector.

“The Job Support Scheme, as it stands, regrettably does not provide us with the necessary tools to stave off hundreds of thousands of redundancies of otherwise viable jobs that are now taking place on an unprecedented scale.

“The simple truth is that without an immediate review of the support on offer to pubs, restaurants and wider hospitality businesses, many will be lost for years to come.

“The damage to communities will be immeasurable, long-term, and ultimately extremely costly for Government.”

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