UKHospitality renews calls for targeted sector support as UK unemployment continues to surge

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

UKHospitality renews calls for targeted sector support as UK unemployment continues to surge

Related tags Unemployment Coronavirus ukhospitality Furlough lockdown

UKHospitality has said the latest employment stats released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reinforces the need for the Government to deliver targeted financial support to hospitality businesses.

The figures, released this morning (10 November), show that a record 314,000 redundancies were recorded in the three months to September with the unemployment rate rising to 4.8% - its highest level since November 2016 and up from 4.5% the month before.

It comes as many businesses made more workers redundant in anticipation of the end of the Job Retention or furlough scheme, which was originally set to close at the end of October.

Last week, however, the Chancellor extended the scheme through to the end of March next year​ after England was plunged into a second national lockdown that will last until at least 2 December.

UKHospitality said the surging unemployment stats highlighted the scale of the crisis currently being faced by hospitality businesses and emphasised the need for additional support for the sector.

“The figures released by the ONS today underline the dreadful hit that hospitality has taken during this crisis and reinforces the urgent need for targeted support," said UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.

“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.

"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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