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Job losses could surge as furlough support reduces from today

Redundancies could rise sharply in the months before the UK’s furlough scheme is fully wound down, a leading economic think tank has warned today.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies expects there to be a rise in “redundancies over the summer even before the final end of the scheme.”

Bosses will need to pick up 10% of their furloughed workers’ pay in July, rising to 20% in August and September before the scheme is removed entirely.

The IFS said it will cost businesses £322 in July to keep an employee earning £20,000 a year on the books.

In August and September this will rise to £489.

Tom Waters, a senior research economist at the IFS, says: “The furlough scheme does need to be wound down as the economy recovers, rather than attempting to keep every job on life support. But this does mean that some will end up unemployed.”

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Around 450,000 companies who still have furloughed staff will need to start picking up 10% of the bill from today, according to Labour Party statistics.

This will cost them a combined £225 million, the party said.

Over 2m workers still on furlough

According to data published by HMRC today, 2.4m people are still on furlough in the UK, down from a high of 9m in May 2020. However, the figure is dropping rapidly and around one million people were taken off the scheme in May.

Daniel Tomlinson, Senior Economist at the Resolution Foundation, says: “The grand reopening of the economy in May has caused over a million people to return to work from furlough. It’s especially encouraging to see so many young people – who have been hardest by the Covid economic crisis – finally returning to work.”

ONS data shows the labour market is recovering as economic activity starts to gather momentum as a result of coronavirus restrictions being lifted. The number of pay rolled employees rose for the sixth consecutive month in May 2021, up by 197,000 to 28.5m.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our Plan for Jobs has supported people’s jobs and livelihoods throughout the pandemic and it’s fantastic to see so many people coming off furlough and into their workplaces with our restaurants, pubs and shops reopened.”

“These figures show what we always hoped would happen – that the scheme is naturally winding down as the economy reopens, but continuing to support those businesses and employees that need our help.”

By Jack Barnett

Source: City AM

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UK remains steady as economy slowly starts to reopen

UK remains steady as economy slowly starts to reopen – European stocks started the week in a subdued fashion, with the FTSE100 only just managing to close above the 7,000 level, while the DAX also slipped back from its record highs of last week.

US markets also finished the day on the back foot, weighed down largely by weakness in tech stocks, which may well have been prompted by a large fall in Bitcoin over the weekend.

Despite yesterday’s modest weakness, sentiment by and large still remains positive, with most discussion/outrage on social media more about the European Super League, than the big falls seen in bitcoin and Ethereum, pointed out Michael Hewson, chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets UK, this morning.

“It is perhaps not surprising that after the gains seen last week, that we might see some modest profit taking as we gear up for further big earnings announcements this week, as well as the latest ECB rate meeting on Thursday,” Hewson told City A.M. this morning.

Markets in Asia have continued the softer theme with the Nikkei 225 falling sharply, although this weakness doesn’t look like it will translate too heavily into today’s European open in a couple of hours’ time, he added.

The US dollar also had a disappointing day, which given the weakness in stocks was a little surprising, losing the most ground against the pound, blowing a rather large hole in the notion that sterling was being weighed down by uncertainty ahead of next month’s Scottish elections, as it pushes back above the 1.4000 level for the first time in over a month.

UK unemployment figures
On the data front its eyes down for the latest unemployment numbers from the UK today.

“With the UK economy slowly embarking on an unlocking process and business optimism showing significant signs of bullishness, hopes are rising that any further increases in unemployment will be limited in nature, and then start falling back. Against that expectation today’s latest ILO unemployment numbers are probably a bit of a distraction, given that we all know that they are very much a lagging indicator,” Hewson said.

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In January the ILO unemployment number fell back to 5 per cent, and it isn’t expected to deviate from that when the February numbers are released this morning.

“Though there is a worry we could see the number nudge back up, given the sharp jump higher in the jobless claims number a month ago,” he noted.

Nonetheless, various forecasters, including the Bank of England, do appear more optimistic about the outlook for unemployment this year revising their forecasts lower once the government starts to withdraw the furlough support that has been in place over the last 12 months.

The monthly jobless claims number showed a big increase in February, rising from 7.2 per cent to 7.5 per cent, and the highest level since August last year.

End of lockdown
With the UK economy slowly starting its reopening process this month, the hope is that this claims number will exhibit a similar fall this time around as businesses restart and take back furloughed employees and start to drift back down towards 7 per cent again, Hewson explained.

“The rise in the claims number was undoubtedly due to the reimposition of lockdown in January, however there was some evidence of a pickup in hiring in some other areas of the economy,” he said.

That still can’t disguise the reality that there are 700k fewer jobs in the UK economy since this time last year, with most of those job losses in the hospitality sector, and in the under 25 age cohort, Hewson continued.

In retail the picture is equally as bleak, as according to the BRC 67,000 jobs have been lost between December 2019 and December 2020.

The outlook does appear to be starting to look a little brighter if the latest economic projections from the OBR are any guide.

They upgraded their economic projections for unemployment down from a peak of 7.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent last month, as the Chancellor set out his various measures to extend the furlough as well as some reductions to key tax and business rates.

“This raises the prospect that companies that are struggling will delay cutting staff, until the reopening path is clearer, while companies that are growing will recruit more quickly, to take advantage of new investment opportunities,” Hewson concluded.

By Michiel Willems

Source: City AM

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Furlough scheme has cushioned Covid blow, but job losses loom

It is clear from the latest unemployment figures that the furlough scheme is working. With more than 5 million people on the government’s main wage subsidy, it has proved its worth yet again as a method of job protection, cushioning the blow from the pandemic as the UK entered a third lockdown.

Thousands of British companies have learned from the first two lockdowns. They have adapted to life online and kept goods and services moving, albeit mostly within the boundaries of the UK after the government left exporters to deal with the worst possible exit from the EU short of leaving without a deal.

Larger companies especially have looked ahead to a time when restrictions are lifted and opportunities for improved sales present themselves again.

But that is where the good news ends for the jobs market. If we look at the figures produced by the Office for National Statistics for the three months to the end of January, the fall in the unemployment rate to 5% from 5.1% is not so cheery.

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The data shows that most of the ups and downs in the rate can be attributed to the short-term decisions of employers that operate in the worst affected industries.

Students who would normally have worked in the hospitality sector have not signed on as unemployed, they have disappeared from the employment register altogether. This has the effect, along with other young people who give up trying to find a job, of bringing down total participation rate to 79% in the three months to January, its lowest level since August 2019.

It shows, said Tony Wilson, the head of the Institute for Employment Studies, that new hiring by companies outside the very largest firms is continuing to fall back and all of the improvement is being driven by fewer people leaving work rather than more people getting new jobs.

“This is proving to be a disaster for young people, who now account for nearly two-thirds of the fall in employment and none of the recent growth,” he said.

Then there are the number of workers not being paid while their job is on hold, which has climbed from 200,000 to more than 300,000.

It is likely that the lower rate of redundancies in the three months to January of 11%, down from a peak of 14.2% in November, can be attributed to greater use of the furlough scheme.

It shows the lockdown and government support schemes mask a weakening labour market and when the furlough scheme ends in September, a spike in unemployment will follow.

There is a different way to deal with the situation. If the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, ditched his day-by-day approach to dealing with the pandemic and made a promise to maintain support for as long as it takes, employers could stop planning for cliff edges in subsidy schemes and plan for growth instead.

By Phillip Inman

Source: The Guardian

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Unemployment in the UK rises as COVID lockdowns hit economy

The United Kingdom’s unemployment rate edged up to 5.1 percent in the final three months of last year, its highest level in nearly five years, official data shows, as severe COVID-19 lockdown restrictions pressured the economy.

Figures published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday showed that the jobless rate rose 0.4 percentage points between the beginning of October and the end of December 2020.

The rise came against the backdrop of regional and national restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has struck the UK hard, killing more than 120,000 people and triggering its biggest fiscal slump in more than 300 years.

Despite a historic government-backed job-retention scheme rolled out in response to the COVID-19 crisis, overall, unemployment had climbed 1.3 percent higher by the end of last year compared with December 2019, the ONS figures showed.

The number of payroll employees tumbled by 726,000 between February 2020 and January 2021, it said.

PM sets out a plan to ease lockdown

The grim ONS figures come as the UK’s finance minister, Rishi Sunak, is reportedly readying to spend billions of pounds in extra support for the economy over the next four months, in line with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to gradually ease England’s lockdown by late June.

Sunak delivers an annual budget on March 3, when he intends to set out the future of government assistance programmes including the furlough scheme and a 20-pound ($28) weekly supplement to the main unemployment benefit.

Announcing his so-called “roadmap” for easing restrictions on Monday, Johnson said his government would not abandon people and businesses in need of ongoing help from the state.

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Non-essential retailers will not reopen before April 12, at the earliest, under Johnson’s four-step strategy, while some businesses will remain closed until at least June 21.

“People may be concerned about what these changes mean for the various support packages for livelihoods, for people and for the economy,” Johnson told Parliament.

“We will not pull the rug out. For the duration of the pandemic, the government will continue to do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK.”

‘Every job lost is a tragedy’

Johnson’s remarks put pressure on Sunak to extend the state-supported 70-billion-pound ($98bn) furlough programme, which is due to expire on April 30, well before most social-distancing restrictions will be lifted.

Under current lockdown rules, people are encouraged to work from home where possible, while hotels and restaurants are closed to the public.

“At the budget next week I will set out the next stage of our Plan for Jobs, and the support we’ll provide through the remainder of the pandemic and our recovery,” Sunak said in a statement.

“I know how incredibly tough the past year has been for everyone and every job lost is a personal tragedy.”

So far, Sunak has spent more than 280 billion pounds ($395bn) on COVID-19 measures, including healthcare, support payments and tax breaks, and government borrowing in the financial year just ending will be the highest as a share of the economy since World War II.

He was keen to rein back the job-support scheme and unemployment benefit last year before a surge in infections in the autumn forced the government to extend support and belatedly tighten lockdown rules.

The government said in a statement that Sunak would set out more details on his longer-term fiscal plans during next week’s annual budget announcement.

“It is not sustainable to borrow at this current level over the medium term,” the document stated. “This means the government has a responsibility, once the economy recovers, to return to a sustainable fiscal position.”

Source: Al Jazeera

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UK Redundancies Are Rising Faster Now Than In 2008

New figures have found that UK redundancies are rising at a faster rate as a result of the coronavirus pandemic than they did during the 2008-2009 financial crash.

Stark new analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found the rate of job losses linked to the pandemic has already exceeded the highest rate seen during the financial crash with those working in the admin and support services industry hit the hardest.

The ONS’s quarterly analysis of the labour market up to December 2020 found the UK’s redundancy rate was has risen consistently since the beginning of the pandemic and is currently sitting at a record peak of 14.2 per thousand employees, compared to a maximum of 12.2 per thousand during the previous financial downturn.

But the ONS warned the economic impacts of the pandemic, which are higher than during 2008-2009, would continue “manifesting themselves in the economy”.

“Policy measures introduced to contain the spread of the virus, such as public health restrictions and voluntary social distancing, have had pronounced impacts on the UK economy,” they said.

“Major shocks to the economy, such as the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the recession between 2008 and 2009 have different causes and policy responses, but they have a common consequence: they cause the economy to contract and unemployment and redundancies to increase.”

Meanwhile, the stats watchdog found a major rise in the number of companies who expected large redundancies of 20 or more employees, rising from 485 in March 2020 to 1,734 in September.

The ONS analysis found the highest rates of redundancy had been recorded in the administrative and support services industry with 35.8 per thousand employees, followed by those in the “other” category, which includes arts, entertainment and recreation, which had rates of 30.5 per thousand.

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They also found that job losses were markedly higher among disabled people, with 21.1 per thousand being made redundant between July to November 2020, compared to 13.0 per thousand among non-disabled workers.

It comes after a recent report from The Resolution Foundation found that almost two million people have not been able to work for six months during the pandemic, including 700,000 who had been unemployed for at least six months.

The grim job figures come ahead of Rishi Sunak’s planned Budget on 3 March where he is expected to announce fresh measures to shore up the economy.

But business chiefs have already called for a further extension of the furlough scheme beyond the proposed April end date and more financial support to avert further job cuts.

Speaking on Thursday, Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the Chancellor would be making a “huge mistake” if he chose to “pull the plug” on the support schemes too early.

And he warned that removing the support would be “akin to writing off the billions that have already been spent helping firms survive and preserving jobs”.

He told the BBC’s Today programme: “I liken this to a marathon. Businesses have been running it and they are in the 25th mile right now, they can see the finish line ahead.

“You want them to get over the finish line and then you want to get them an energy drink and a blanket to help them start to recover.

“That is why extending the scheme is so important. You don’t want them falling within sight of the finish line.”

By John Johnston

Source: Politics Home

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200,000 retail redundancies forecast for 2021

The UK’s retail sector is forecast to report 200,000 job losses this year as Covid-19 restrictions continue to affect the industry.

The latest research from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) showed that an average of 320 stores were shuttered every week in 2020.

New figures show a bleak retail landscape for 2021, with high streets and shopping centres likely to be most affected by social distancing rules.

The CRR said the retail sector’s troubles are “caused by high costs, low profitability, and losing sales to online shopping”.

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“These problems are felt by most businesses operating from physical stores in high streets, shopping malls or neighbourhoods.

“The low growth in consumer spending since 2015 has meant that the growth in online sales comes at the expense of the high street.”

The third lockdown and tiered restrictions have impacted stores as a large proportion of retail trade has been lost.

“Although a lot of money has been channelled into the retail sector ‘to preserve jobs’, businesses cannot operate with zero revenue and constant threats of pandemic-driven closure,” CRR said.

By Sahar Nazir

Source: Retail Gazette

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Nearly 10k job losses expected on ‘Black Monday’

Almost 10,000 people are expected to be made redundant today, on what outplacement firm Randstad RiseSmart is calling ‘Black Monday’.

Based on its experience of the outplacement market, it said 7 December 2020 was likely to be the worst day of the year for job losses in the UK, as many organisations cut back ahead of the new year. It expected 9,550 redundancies to be announced.

“The economy is set to shrink 11% this year, the most it has done since Queen Anne sat on the throne 300 years ago. Not only that, but businesses are starting to deal with the medium term economic fallout of the pandemic – grappling with the fact that the economy may not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2027,” said Simon Lyle, UK managing director of Randstad RiseSmart.

“While the first week of December is always a bad time for layoffs, the economic outlook means employers will be making more redundancies than ever this year. And this isn’t just the big name retailers we’ve seen so much of in the news – this is all sorts of businesses, across different sectors – who are having to make some very difficult decisions.”

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Its grim prediction came as the Department for Work and Pensions revealed more than 40,000 people – 800 per day – have been referred to its new Job Entry Targeted Support (Jets) scheme in its first two months.

The scheme, which was announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak at the beginning of October, is especially targeted at those who had lost their jobs as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

People who have been claiming Universal Credit or Job Seekers Allowance are given advice on how to move into “growing” sectors, was well as support with CV-writing and interview techniques. Those who have been out of work for at least three months are given an action plan to follow and are signposted to opportunities for skills development.

Employment minister Mims Davies said: “Many people are sadly facing unemployment due to the pandemic, for the first time in years, and will need help to build their confidence, get back on their feet and apply for new roles – Jets gives people the tools and support they need to succeed.

“During such a challenging time, our new employment support is already helping thousands of jobseekers to get back into work and I’ve met with Jets providers to see first-hand the vital help this programme has already given people across the UK.

“Our Plan for Jobs is supporting people of all ages – we’re doubling the number of work coaches across our Jobcentres, creating thousands of opportunities for young people through our Kickstart scheme and our SWAP scheme is helping people retrain in new industries.”

In the three months to September, redundancies reached a record high of 314,000 according to the Office for National Statistics.

Thousands more jobs on the high street have recently been put at risk with the announcement that Arcadia Group, Bon Marché and Peacocks and Jaeger owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group had appointed administrators. Debenhams also planned to close its doors, but Mike Ashley’s Fraser’s Group confirmed today it was in talks to rescue the struggling department store chain.

By Ashleigh Webber

Source: Personnel Today

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As the furlough scheme comes to an end but a national lockdown looms again, Britain braces for a new tsunami of job losses

Major companies have culled nearly 200,000 British jobs already as they struggle with the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a Mail audit has found. 

As shops and eateries face growing curbs, and international travel is hit by a collapse in demand, leading firms from Marks & Spencer and British Airways to Rolls-Royce and Debenhams have slashed around 183,900 roles across the UK this year. 

But experts and business leaders warned this is just the tip of the iceberg – far worse is to come as fresh Covid-19 lockdowns slam the brakes on the economic recovery. 

The Government’s furlough scheme – which supported 9m jobs at its height – comes to an end today and will be replaced by a slimmer jobs support scheme.

Employers have warned it will not be enough to stave off more redundancies if restrictions tighten further, as businesses face tumbling visitor numbers or being forced to close altogether. Unemployment has already risen to a three-year high of 4.5 per cent, with the Bank of England predicting it could rise to 7.5 per cent by the year’s end, potentially leaving 2.6m out of work.

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And this week the Resolution Foundation estimated the UK is facing the highest level of youth unemployment since the 1980s, after a survey found 20 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds could soon be jobless.

In a fresh warning yesterday, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called on ministers to make sure that firms ‘have the support they need to make it through the next few months’.

Mike Cherry, the group’s national chair, said: ‘With new restrictions being imposed in every part of the country, many of which are set to get tighter in the weeks to come, small businesses face huge difficulties over the winter months ahead.

‘Our latest small business index found that 30 per cent of employers expect to make some staff redundant in the next three months.

‘That is the scale of concern and uncertainty that small firms are faced with for their businesses, with many letting staff go for the very first time.’

Pubs have warned that lifeline grants promised by Chancellor Rishi Sunak will not reach them unless state aid rules are changed – putting 1m jobs at risk. The British Beer & Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UK Hospitality warned that with – out action some 20,000 venues in areas hit by Tier Two and Three lockdowns will be starved of the desperately-needed cash. They said: ‘If action is not taken, thousands of businesses might not survive to the spring.’ Jobs at other leisure sector businesses, such as nightclubs, have also taken a sharp hit.

The UK’s largest nightclub owner, The Deltic Group, had already cut around half its staff before it put itself up for sale yesterday. The Treasury has insisted that its jobs support scheme and job retention bonus – awarded to firms for keeping on staff who were previously furloughed – will together cover 95 per cent of total wage costs for the average furloughed employee until February.

Around 9.6m people used the furlough scheme in total, though the most at any one time was 8.9m. Sunak said the programme had supported ‘9.6m jobs through some of the most challenging economic times’.

But he added: ‘It’s right that as we move towards a more targeted approach to tackle the virus, our support becomes more targeted too. The jobs support scheme will continue to protect jobs through – out the difficult months ahead and is part of our comprehensive plan for jobs.’


Source: This is Money

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UK sees largest jump in redundancies since 2009

The United Kingdom’s jobless rate witnessed a higher increase than expected in the three months to August, intensifying anxieties about the imminent end to the government’s £50bn ($65bn, €55bn) Covid-19 work-protection scheme.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that unemployment rose to 4.5 per cent in the quarter, its highest reading in more than three years and higher than analyst projections of around 4.3 per cent.

The body’s deputy national statistician Jonathan Athow said: “Since the start of the pandemic there has been a sharp increase in those out of work and job hunting but more people telling us they are not actively looking for work.”

Athow added: “There has also been a stark rise in the number of people who have recently been made redundant.”

Indeed, redundancies witnessed a record jump of 114,000 from the previous quarter to 227,000, their highest level since 2009 and the global financial crisis.

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Before the novel coronavirus outbreak began and governments around the world imposed lockdowns, the unemployment rate in Britain was at its lowest point in almost 50 years.

The latest reading of 4.5 per cent is still below the jobless rate seen throughout the relatively prosperous pre-GFC 2000s.

As the October 31 deadline of the government’s seven-month-long furlough scheme approaches, there is growing concern that unemployment could skyrocket, with the economic consequences of the nationwide lockdown finally coming home to roost once government support is lifted.

The Bank of England has forecast that the jobless rate will reach 7.5 per cent by the end of the year.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak reaffirmed his determination to stem the rise in job losses. The 40-year-old politician hopes to achieve this with a more targeted job protection scheme, which will cover the wages of employees whose businesses have been forced to close as a result of government restrictions.

With the recent launch of a three-tier Covid-19 rules system for England, many workers in parts of the north could continue to find their wages subsidised by the state.

By Lawrence Gash

Source: Capital

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Sunak warned winter economy plan not enough to stop wave of job losses

Rishi Sunak’s winter economy plan will not be enough to stop a wave of redundancies unless hard-hit industries such as hospitality and the arts receive further support, the government has been warned.

After cancelling the budget, Sunak announced a series of measures on Thursday, including a new wage subsidy scheme, to support jobs. They received cautious applause from several major trade bodies and business lobby groups.

But the UK chancellor also faced accusations of abandoning millions of freelancers and whole sectors of the economy such as nightclubs, live music venues and theatres, that cannot access wage subsidies because they are not allowed to reopen.

Sunak’s plans included a long-awaited replacement for the furlough scheme that will see the government and employers share the cost of paying wages.

July’s VAT cut for hospitality – from 20% to 5% – will be extended to the end of March, while struggling businesses will get longer to pay back government loans.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the UK’s leading business lobby group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), praised Sunak for “bold steps” that she said would preserve hundreds of thousands of jobs through the winter. She insisted that 2021 could be a year of “growth and renewal” as a result.

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the plan was a “shot in the arm” for businesses.

But the measures were not met with universal optimism. The Institute of Directors, which represents business leaders who will be making hiring and firing decisions over the coming months, said it was “not yet clear how much the job support scheme will help hard-pressed firms hold onto staff”.

The IPPR thinktank said the time taken to come up with the plan had already cost thousands of jobs and the measures did not go far enough.

UK coronavirus job losses: the latest data on redundancies and furloughs
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IPPR’s executive director, Carys Roberts, said the plan “does not support businesses enough to prevent layoffs, and will be cold comfort to firms that are fundamentally viable but can’t operate at all due to local or sector restrictions.”

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Hospitality has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and multiple trade bodies had warned earlier this week that a quarter of the UK’s 100,000 pubs, bars and restaurants could close, with the loss of 675,000 jobs, unless they were given sector-specific support.

The sector includes thousands of businesses, including small city-centre pubs and nightclubs, that are unable to reopen or are not permitted to do so, and are therefore unable to make use of wage subsidies.

Speaking after Sunak’s announcement, which included an extension of the VAT cut on food, UK Hospitality’s chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said the chancellor needed to provide more support for a sector that was “not out of the woods”.

“Things were looking grim for our sector yesterday and we were desperately hoping for some good news,” she said.

“The chancellor has given us some reason to be positive again, but we urge him to engage with the trade on specific measures to keep people in work.

“We need government to go further in hospitality, recognising the greater restrictions imposed upon us, and pick up the full cost of unworked hours,” she said.

“This would be a relatively low cost for huge reward for our workforce. Full support to sustain people in their jobs during what could be a pretty bleak winter for hospitality would be a great step forward.”

Sunak was also accused of letting freelancers slip through the cracks, particularly those working in creative industries such as theatre, where venues remain closed and are therefore also unable to tap into government wage subsidies.

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“The job support scheme may help some employers, but it will not help to save theatres that are still not able to open due to government restrictions and are already making thousands of workers redundant,” said Philippa Childs, head of creative industries union Bectu.

“The army of freelancers and self-employed who make up the backbone of the UK creative industries face being excluded from support once again as the chancellor continues to turn a deaf ear to their hardship,” she said.

“Without more support the UK creative sector will not get through the winter, we desperately need a targeted plan to save jobs and ensure that one of the most productive parts of our economy can survive the winter.”

Conservative MP Julian Knight, who chairs the culture select committee, said workers in the industry had been left facing a “grim future”.

Three million people who were left out of the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) will also not benefit from the new measures, according to law firm Blick Rothenberg.

“For a Conservative government which is meant to support entrepreneurship, it appears illogical to continue ignoring such a large number of workers,” said director Robert Salter.

SIBA, the trade body for independent breweries, said its members had not had access to business grants and warned that the continued exclusion of alcohol from the VAT cut would further hurt them and the “wet-led” alcohol-focused pubs they sell to.

By Rob Davies

Source: The Guardian