Published on Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Call for urgent action to save more than 1 million hospitality jobs

UKHospitality has warned more than 1 million jobs are now at risk in UK pubs, restaurants, bars, hotels and leisure attractions unless the Government takes immediate action.

In a statement on Wednesday, it called for an immediate package of employment support for businesses 'within the next 24 hours' to protect hospitality businesses.

CEO Kate Nicholls said: "Our analysis suggests in excess of one million jobs are now on the line. Job cuts are extraordinarily deep and they are happening now - today and tomorrow - and are snowballing.

"Companies are having to make the very difficult decisions now and with many hospitality and leisure businesses now having to choose to close or massively reduce their operations, there is little chance of saving many jobs without far-reaching help. What the sector urgently needs is a package of support and funding to keep people in employment. This needs to happen now - within 24 hours."

She said while extra measures announced on Tuesday will give many companies a lifeline, the big issue is people and preservation of jobs.

"What was announced by the Chancellor yesterday will not stop job losses as companies will be very worried about taking loans to pay staff when they have zero income - for many, it just isn't viable.

"This is about helping individual people to preserve their employment status, and to avoid swamping the already-strained welfare system. It will also allow companies to keep their teams and be ready to aid the economic recovery when stability returns."

UKHospitality estimates that in the two weeks since the impact of the coronavirus was truly felt in the UK the industry has shed between 200,000 and 250,000 jobs, with majority of these cuts coming in the past few days.

"The speed of change and the severity of the action companies are now having to take is shocking and many, many more jobs will be lost in the coming days, without help," said Nicholls.

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