Employment stats ‘reinforce need for targeted support’, says UKH

The release of ONS employment figures “highlights the scale of the crisis” currently being faced by hospitality businesses and emphasises the need for additional support for the sector, according to UKHospitality.

The figures showed that a record 314,000 people lost their job in the three months to September as the Government’s furlough scheme was tapered.

Looking at the change in employment by industry over the year to July to September 2020, the largest annual decreases were observed in the accommodation and food services – down 261,000 on the year to 1.56 million.

As such, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the figures released by the ONS underline the “dreadful hit” that hospitality has taken during the Covid-19 crisis and “reinforces the urgent need for targeted support”.

She said: “Our sector has seen the highest fall in jobs of any. We are entering another period that is likely to be incredibly difficult for us. Businesses are in lockdown once again and when they do reopen, it will be back into a severely restrictive environment.

“Extension of the furlough scheme will provide some protection but scrapping the Job Retention Bonus Scheme is a major blow at a time when things could not be tighter – dramatically impacting on cashflow and potentially making businesses technically insolvent.”

She added: “Furlough will still mean that employers must pick up the cost of National Insurance Contributions (NICs), while receiving no revenue. The majority of businesses are operating at a loss, with little to no financial reserves and the prospect of a bleak winter ahead.

“Government support should recognise that hospitality is being asked to operate under the toughest restrictions of any sector and being given the highest mountain to climb in order to survive – we need a new approach from 3 December.”

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