Hospitality has emerged as the sector worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 300,000 hospitality workers in the UK losing their jobs this year.
As reported by the BBC, 297,000 jobs were lost in the hospitality sector between February and November this year, accounting for over a third of UK job losses. A total of 819,000 people lost their jobs in the UK over that period, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics.
“It you look at the number of people losing their jobs, the number of people on furlough and the vacancies available for people looking for jobs in the hospitality sector, all that adds up to a very difficult time for that industry,” said ONS director of economic statistics, Darren Morgan.
The furlough scheme, VAT cuts and business loans have not been enough to save hundreds of thousands of hospitality jobs in the UK.
A significant number of job cuts were made at the end of September due to delays over extending the furlough scheme, which was due to be replaced by the Job Support Scheme.
The bleak figures have emerged as London enters tier three restrictions today, in which restaurants are only allowed to offer a delivery and takeaway service.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said the enforced closure of the industry was “an illogical tactic”, stressing the lack of “hard evidence” that hospitality venues are hotspots for the spread of the virus.
“The burden of a region being moved into tier three falls almost exclusively on hospitality businesses. It is an illogical tactic that fails to tackle Covid effectively but does push businesses closer towards failure.
“Putting hospitality businesses back into lockdown, which is effectively what tier three amounts to, is not going to tackle increasing infection rates. Cases were higher at the end of the last lockdown – during which hospitality was shut down – than at the start.
“The government is cracking down on hospitality for an increase in the infection rates that occurred during a period when hospitality was forcibly closed. It makes no sense,” she said.