Future of Work

Hospitality industry bosses have warned that new government restrictions could put firms out of business. Boris Johnson has urged everyone to avoid unnecessary social contact and to stay away from pubs and restaurants.

Carluccio’s chief executive Mark Jones said that the restaurant chain “was days away from large-scale closures” without state aid.

Speaking to the Today programme, he called for “immediate” help for the industry from the chancellor.

With consumers increasingly working from home amid the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurants have already seen footfall declining “on a daily basis”, according to Mr Jones.

He said: “We understand the role we have to play in public health, so I won’t question the government’s advice on that. But to do that to an industry without any fiscal support whatsoever condemns us to death, effectively.”

He added that the government restrictions announced last night meant “we’ll be in a situation where sales start to decline even more rapidly from today onwards”.

The Italian chain, made up of 73 restaurants across the UK and Ireland, saw the largest declines in London, according to its chief executive.

Many industry figures have expressed anger that the prime minister advised people to stay away from social venues while not forcing premises to close. This could have given them financial protection for interruption to their business.

But Mr Jones said: “Insurance is a very lengthy and complex issue, and we need immediate state help in coming days, rather than months.”

He urged new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to stage an “enormous state intervention”, citing measures for business announced by President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.

Mr Macron reaffirmed unlimited state financial support for business and employees affected by the pandemic.

Other UK firms that have been affected by new coronavirus containment measures include catering giant Compass Group.

The group warned that its half-yearly operating profit would be lower than expected due to steps taken by governments in Europe and the United States. It now expects a loss of revenue of up to 30% across the business.

The UK government is set to announce more financial measures to help the economy during the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesday.

The expected announcement comes less than a week after Mr Sunak published his Budget, which set out £12bn of measures for coronavirus support.

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