More than one in three restaurants and hotels fear they might have to shut for good within the next three months as the sector is badly hit by a second lockdown.
The Office for National Statistics said 34 per cent of businesses in the accommodation and food services sector have ‘little or no confidence’ they will last beyond the end of January.
Overall, one in seven (14%) British businesses fear the same fate, a survey carried out in the first two weeks of November showed. Only about one in five (21%) hospitality businesses said they are highly confident about their future, 36% said they are moderately confident, while 10% said they are not sure.
The ONS said 13% of the businesses it surveyed said they had paused trading and did not intend to restart within the next two weeks at the time the form was filled out. The worst hit sector is hospitality, where just 63% of companies are currently trading. Other ONS statistics show the economy is still much slower than usual. For instance, it reported road traffic is around 22 percentage points lower than it was in early February. Its figures show the total number of online job adverts increased slightly earlier this month, but are still only at 68% of the average from last year.
Adrian Ellis, the manager of Manchester’s five-star Lowry Hotel and the chair of the Manchester Hoteliers’ Association (MHA), who believes the industry won’t begin to bounce back until spring 2021.
Mr Ellis said: ‘Sadly, the new regulations have once again decimated the UK’s hospitality industry, which had just begun to dust itself down and assess the damage after the effects of the first UK lockdown.
‘At the moment, the trajectory to reopening and the long-term story is very unclear, as no one yet knows when they can return to work and what will happen pre and post-Christmas.’
The stark warning follows news yesterday (November 19) that 72% of hospitality and on trade sector businesses expect to become unviable and close in 2021.
A survey of members of three leading trade associations conducted by hospitality market research company CGA, shows thousands of hospitality and pub businesses need the Government to do more to support them.
Overall, one in seven (14 per cent) British businesses fear they won’t last either, a survey carried out in the first two weeks of November shows.