Jobs at risk as Cineworld announces closure of more than a dozen cinemas in East Anglia

A number of cinemas across East Anglia will shut their doors after Cineworld confirmed it is to temporarily close its sites in the UK.

The company has more than a dozen cinemas across the East - but says the industry has become unviable because of delays in big-budget releases, including the new James Bond film.

The cinema chain confirmed it would suspend its operations from Thursday, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The company did not give a date for when it expects to reopen its cinemas, which include 102 Cineworld and 25 Picturehouse theatres.

The Cineworld cinema in Huntingdon is among the theatres facing closure. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets – including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry," Cineworld Chief Executive Mooky Greidinger said.

“We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.

"Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”

  • Watch an interview with Picturehouse Cinemas co-founder Tony Jones

In an interview with Sky News, Suffolk Coastal MP and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the company received "a lot of support" from the government.

"Cineworld will have been supported throughout the year through the furlough scheme through other ways the Government has been supporting businesses," she said.

"Conscious that aspects of the main furlough scheme are coming to an end, but there is a successor scheme there."

Which Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas are closing in East Anglia?

From Thursday, 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK will close. Credit: ITV News Anglia
  • Basildon

  • Bedford

  • Braintree

  • Bury St Edmunds

  • Ely

  • Harlow - Harvey Centre

  • Harlow - Queensgate

  • Haverhill

  • Huntingdon

  • Ipswich

  • Luton

  • Milton Keynes

  • Northampton

  • Stevenage

  • St Neots

  • Cambridge - Arts Picturehouse

  • Norwich - Cinema City

Dawn Hopkins, the landlady at The Rose in Norwich. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Meanwhile, publicans across the East have written to the government demanding more support for their industry.

Dawn Hopkins, the landlady at The Rose in Norwich, is one of more than 1,000 publicans who has signed the letter organised by the Campaign for Pubs.

It warns of mass closures and job losses after the new 10pm curfew saw a huge drop in trade, and calls for a raft of measures including a cut in VAT.

"Some pubs still haven't opened, some are very restricted on the trade they can have inside their pubs," she said.

"Obviously, with the weather now, people can't sit outside in beer gardens as much as they were so everything is against us at the moment. So, we definitely need some help to get through this or there won't be the Great British pub anymore."