The bosses of five major pub companies have signed a letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak demanding financial support for venues in tier 2 covid regions.
The letter says: “We are now in a position where the government’s response to the pandemic is at risk of causing more harm to the sector than the pandemic itself.
“Since pubs and restaurants could re-open in the summer, we have been left reeling from low footfall. On average, our pubs and restaurants in London, which have re-opened, are experiencing sales down by about 60%-plus, year on year. Moving London into tier 2 further disincentivises customers to return. The perverse reality is that as a sector we are financially better off under tier 3 measures.
“While pubs are being closed in other European countries, the financial support made available to them is far greater than is available to pubs in the UK. For example, France is providing 100% wage subsidy until the end of the year, and The Netherlands is currently providing 90% wage subsidy.
‘Inevitably, and regrettably, recent restrictions will impact jobs’
“As a minimum, we are asking that you extend the support made available to hospitality businesses under tier 3 to those under 2 two immediately.”
Yesterday, Marston’s announced it was to cut 2,150 jobs once the furlough scheme ends this month. It blamed the 10pm curfew, the rule of six, and the new three-tier regulations.
The company said: “Inevitably, and regrettably, recent restrictions will impact jobs. Since the start of the pandemic, our objectives have included protecting the health and livelihoods of our teams. Government support over the summer was vital, and around 10,000 colleagues have so far returned to work.
“However, because of the recent additional restrictions, we have reluctantly concluded that around 2,150 pub-based roles currently subject to furlough are going to be impacted.”