Two of Britain’s biggest pub groups announced 1,700 job cuts as tens of thousands of businesses were told they will not reopen on December 2.
Toby Carvery owner, Mitchells & Butlers, and Fuller, Smith & Turner swung the axe in a new blow to the hospitality industry.
The job losses came as Boris Johnson said 99 per cent of England – or 55m people – would be in the two toughest levels of Covid measures when the lockdown ends next week.
Toby Carvery owner Mitchells & Butlers announced it had been forced to make 1,300 job cuts because of the pandemic. Meanwhile Fuller’s revealed it has shed 1,000 staff
The draconian restrictions ban people from mixing indoors with other households – leaving pubs, restaurants and other businesses fighting for survival.
Warning that ‘our options on bearing down on the disease are limited’, the Prime Minister added: ‘We want to keep young people in schools as much as we can. That’s why we must make sacrifices elsewhere.’
But more than 50 pubs and breweries including Greene King, Heineken and Budweiser pleaded with the Government to extend support to avoid thousands of local venues going bust.
In a letter to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak they said: ‘It would be nothing less than heart-breaking if, having survived through the last nine months, pubs now face ruin with the end of the pandemic in sight.
‘The support the Government has given us up to this point would all be for nothing, a colossal waste of resources. The looming disaster is avoidable, but only if you act now.’
Mitchells & Butlers, which owns 1,700 pubs and restaurants, said it had been forced to make 1,300 job cuts because of the pandemic.
The group fell to a £123million loss for the year to September 26, from pre-tax profits of £177million in 2019.
Revenues plunged 34 per cent to £1.5billion, and are down 50.8 per cent since the end of September due to the second lockdown.
Fuller’s boss Simon Emeny said that three-quarters of his 400 pubs will be shut in Tier Two
Fuller’s, which has 400 pubs mostly in the south-east, revealed it has shed 1,000 staff, including 400 redundancies, this year.
It fell to a £22.2million loss in the six months to September 26 after sales fell 78 per cent to £45.6million due to the first lockdown.
The sector has already lost 4,600 jobs at Young’s, Marston’s, Greene King and Wetherspoons, and almost all businesses will go into Tiers Two and Three from December 2.
Over 38,000 pubs, restaurants, bars and hotels in England will shut in Tier Three, apart from for takeaways, affecting 38,000 workers.
Around 120,000 venues, employing 1.5m people, will be put into Tier Two, with bosses warning that three-quarters of Tier Two hospitality businesses will make a loss because household mixing is banned and they can only serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’.
The bosses of four northern pub groups, including Robinsons and Thwaites, said: ‘Livelihoods, employment and communities will be destroyed by the Government’s shameful targeting of pubs. Boris Johnson is wilfully dealing out certain economic ruin to our pubs and the North.’
Fuller’s boss Simon Emeny, who said that three-quarters of his pubs will be shut in Tier Two, said: ‘This is a savage blow to the sector. We can go to gyms and have our hair cut in all tiers, but pubs are being singled out for their own tier system.’
Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Phil Urban said: ‘I feel incredibly let down. It is bizarre and without foundation – nobody has been able to give an ounce of evidence. It is galling.’
Firms supplying pubs have also been hit. Britvic, which owns J2O and Pepsi, reported an 8.6 per cent fall in sales in the year to September 30.
It salvaged a 0.8 per cent rise in profits to £111.2million thanks in part to families in lockdown drinking at home.
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