Last orders: the warning that more jobs could go in the hospitality sector

Click above to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Hannah Pettifer


Unemployment figures for the East of England are higher than almost any other time during the pandemic and there are fears that could get worse.

Hundreds of thousands more workers across the region are on the furlough scheme, and with that set to finish at the end of April, some in the hospitality sector fear that will lead to more job losses.

Andy Wood wants to extend support for the hospitality trade until the end of the year Credit: ITV News Anglia

The boss of Southwold brewers Adnams has called on the Government to extend its support for the hospitality industry until the end of the year.

The Suffolk brewery and pub chain is one of the region's biggest employers in the hospitality industry.

Andy Woods, CEO, Adnams

Andy Wood has asked for an extension to VAT reduction, a flexible furlough scheme and rate relief. He says businesses are facing a cliff edge - with measures due to run out by April.

The hospitality sector however remains on its knees. It exited what is traditionally a 'golden quarter' in financial terms with cash balances severely depleted, balance sheets under pressure and with no prospect of any income to speak of until restrictions unwind through the spring and early summer.

Andy Wood, an extract of the letter to the Chancellor

In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Mr Wood thanked him for the support the sector has received so far but demanded it continues to help the industry survive post-Covid.

We’re currently operating the business with a core staff of 26 people, that would nearly be 600 under normal circumstances. ndividual pubs have suffered terribly..and the British beer and pub association are already pointing to something like 6000 pubs have closed, and are unlikely to reopen..that’s probably 60,000 jobs that have been lost.

ANDY WOOD, CEO, Adnams

The number of people in the East of England claiming universal credit - formerly known as jobseekers allowance - has increased by almost 60% year on year.

  • In November 2019: 85,800 seeking credit

  • In November 2020: 207,100 seeking credit

149,000

People without a job in the East of England

That figure is more than 40,000 compared to the previous year.

All 14 staff at this Norfolk pub have been furloughed Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Gull Inn at Framingham Pigot in South Norfolk is still standing- the proprietor describing he pandemic as a 'missile' to the hospitality sector.

All 14 of its staff have been placed on furlough until the doors can open again.

We have furloughed almost all of them on the basis we want them to be here, if anything staffing is a problem in this area, slightly outside Norwich, so the furloughing scenario has helped that situation, and if anything our chefs in particular are chomping at the bit to re-menu the business

Steve Munson, Proprietor, The Gull, Framingham Pigot

It is clearly a worrying time for those just about to enter the jobs market.

At Harlow College in Essex, staff say students are more worried about their courses than their long term job prospects.

Student back in 2017 at Harlow College Credit: ITV News Anglia

Apprenticeships at the college have been cut by 80% with businesses unable to commit to the schemes while their own future is uncertain.

Of course with the extension of job retention schemes, we're uncertain what will happen in the future, but the particular impact for us has been on the recruitment of new apprentices. We're probably around 20% of where we would expect to be in any normal year and clearly that will have a knock on effect in the future.

Karen Spencer, Principal, Harlow College

The college says rather than sitting back it's having to adapt and is focusing on providing skills in the areas of work most likely to offer employment once the jobs market stabilizes.