Job losses at Cardrona hotel 'another hammer blow' to the Borders

The news of potential job losses at a 4-star hotel in Peeblesshire has been described as 'another hammer blow' to the Borders economy.

Macdonald Hotels Group, which owns the Cardrona, in Peebles, has started a company-wide consultation process, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on the hospitality industry.

The company has issued notices to each of its 2,299 employees and warns that up to 1,800 roles are at risk of redundancy.

The group has 31 hotels and resorts' including the Old England at Bowness-on-Windermere and Leeming House at Ullswater.

It says it has seen a total collapse of income over the past three months since lockdown measures were introduced.

Group deputy chairman Gordon Fraser said: “We had really hoped to avoid this very unwelcome step, but with no realistic prospects of a return to anything like normal trading for the foreseeable future, we were simply left with no choice.

“Potentially, we are looking at around 1,800 roles at risk, in all areas and at all levels of the business.

“There is no realistic prospect of us returning to anything approaching normality for the foreseeable future and, whilst its enormously regrettable, we simply must take these steps to ensure that we have a meaningful business when this situation ends, enabling us to bring back as many of our employees as possible.”

Credit: Macondald Hotels and Resorts

The company, which is headquartered in Bathgate, West Lothian, said it was losing £2m a month while its outlets were closed.

“Everyone understands that drastic steps had to be taken to halt coronavirus but the only way out of this for our industry is when the current restrictions are eased significantly, and people feel comfortable returning to hotels and restaurants,” said Fraser.

“Given the enormous importance of the tourism and hospitality sector for local economies the length and breadth of the UK, it is incumbent upon both the Westminster and Scottish Governments to do everything they can to support our industry.

“If they fail to do so, many long-standing and well-loved businesses will simply not survive, scarring some of our most fragile communities for years to come,” he added.

Jobs losses at the Peebles Hydro were announced on Monday 8 June. Credit: Google Maps

Cllr Shona Haslam, leader of Scottish Borders Council,said: “This is another hammer blow to our local community and economy.

“We are hopeful the Scottish Government announcement that the tourism sector can reopen on the 15th July will mean that these redundancies will be kept to a minimum. However, this is obviously concerning news, coming on the back of the Hydro announcement.

“Of course, we will do everything in our power to support employees and will be working with our partners across the South of Scotland to restart our tourism industry.”