Image above: General Manager of George IV, Ben Bullman and Fuller’s CEO Simon Emeny at George IV
CEO of Fuller’s, Simon Emeny, says now that London has gone into Tier 2, it’s critical that the hospitality industry gets government support by the end of the week or thousands of jobs could be lost. The Chiswick based executive has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak with four other CEOs – Greene King’s Nick Mackenzie, Stonegate’s Simon Longbottom, Young’s Patrick Dardis and Mitchells and Butlers’ Phil Urban, saying that further financial support for the pub sector is “critical to our survival”.
Between them they represent more than 9,500 pubs and bars and more than 105,000 jobs across the country, including Chiswick pubs the Bell & Crown, George IV, The Old Packhorse, The Pilot and the Dove in Hammersmith (Fuller’s) and the Bull’s Head, City Barge, Bollo House in Chiswick and the Ship at Mortlake (Greene King), plus many more pubs in Acton, Hammersmith and Shepherd’s Bush.
Their letter outlined the case that without further financial support for the pub sector “critical to our survival”, then “lives and livelihoods are at risk”. They want similar support to that which has been made available to hospitality businesses under Tier 3 to be extended to those under Tier 2.
It said: “We have already seen many thousands of jobs lost in our sector as a direct result of the pandemic and if we continue down this path without adequate support we will certainly see more. The perverse reality is that as a sector we are financially better off under Tier 3 Covid measures than we are under Tier 2 and that is surely not right.”
Images above: City Barge; The Old Packhorse; The Pilot
Simon Emeny said the footfall in pubs hasn’t increased since September but that the absence of tourism, arts and sporting events were “short term challenges”. He expects London to bounce back eventually, but government help is needed to keep the industry alive until that point.
“The Chancellor promised to do ‘whatever it takes’ to support the economy – and one of the best ways to support the economy is to ensure the hospitality sector is well positioned to lead the economic recovery when all this is over.
“To do that we need to keep our excellent, well-trained team members on our payroll through an extension of the furlough scheme to Tier Two areas. Otherwise we will end up with mass redundancies across the hospitality sector and the need to rehire and retrain when normality finally returns”.
The Fuller’s executive is one of those behind a petition for there to be a Minister of Government specifically for the hospitality industry. You can find the petition here.
Pubs ‘better off closed’
There has been a chorus of voices over the past few days warning that the Tier two restrictions will kill off pubs and restaurants. The combination of not being able to sit at a table with anyone you don’t live with, and closing time at 10.00pm is making a visit to the pub a lot less attractive.
Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, said businesses in central London were probably better off to be ‘paid to be closed’. She described Tier two as a ‘curse’ for traders. She told BBC Breakfast:
‘If you go into level three you are getting support if you’re closed, so at least you would have something to pay the teams. ‘Being moved into tier two is a curse for businesses. They will be trapped in a no man’s land of being open, but with severe restrictions that will significantly hit custom, all while unable to access the job support available in tier three. ‘It is the worst of both worlds for businesses.’
Simon Emeny told ITV:
“The government needs to be honest with us. If it wants us to close, tell us to close. Give us the financial support so that we can protect jobs and make sure we don’t send a million people to unemployment”.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: London going into Tier 2
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