More than half of pub staff were still on furlough in May

More than half of pub and bar staff were STILL on furlough in May as one in three pub landlords say their profits have been slashed by more than 50 per cent

  • Office for National Statistics data showed pubs and bars continuing to struggle
  • Some 55 per cent of hospitality workers were still on furlough at start of May
  • One third of pubs have seen their profits slashed by more than 50 per cent 

More than half of pub and bar workers were still on furlough at the start of May and a third of landlords have seen profits fall by in excess of 50 per cent, according to new research. 

Numbers published by the Office for National Statistics showed 55 per cent of hospitality staff were on furlough at the start of last month. 

That figure is way down on the 91 per cent recorded during the November 2020 lockdown peak but it is still far higher than furlough levels in the wider economy. 

The ONS said confidence in the pub industry has increased in recent months as draconian rules have been eased to allow customers to return. 

Numbers published by the Office for National Statistics showed 55 per cent of hospitality staff were on furlough at the start of last month

The ONS said confidence in the pub industry has increased in recent months as draconian rules have been eased to allow customers to return

But it found 33 per cent of landlords still suffered ‘significant profit losses’ last month. 

This represents an improvement after heightened restrictions around Christmas resulted in ‘huge losses in trade’ at the end of 2020.

However, current levels remain significantly worse than across other areas of UK industry, with only nine per cent of all UK businesses reporting similar losses.

The ONS said in its Economies Of Ale report that by mid-December 2020 more than 80 per cent of pubs and bars said their profits were more than 50 per cent below what they would normally expect for the time of year, hitting 100 per cent by the end of the month. 

By late January pubs were still reporting a larger loss of profits than all other businesses. 

The ONS said those losses have recently started to shrink, with approximately 33 per cent of pubs recording ‘significant profit losses’ at the start of May.

The report suggested that the coronavirus crisis continues to impact optimism around the future of the hospitality sector.  

Just over a fifth (24 per cent) of pub businesses had high confidence of surviving the next three months, compared with around 44 per cent for all types of businesses. 

Nevertheless, the ONS said this reflected a recovery in optimism, with only one per cent of pub owners saying they were highly confident about their future in early February.  

The research also revealed that 55 per cent of all pub staff were still on furlough in early May, compared with around eight per cent of the UK’s wider workforce.

The ONS found 33 per cent of pub landlords still suffered ‘significant profit losses’ last month

During the November 2020 lockdown some 91 per cent of pub and bar staff were on furlough.  

The ONS said: ‘We can increasingly see a downward trend of pub and bar staff on furlough since restrictions were lifted on beer gardens. 

‘Despite this, the percentage of staff that were on furlough has remained high. This suggests that where pubs and bars have been open, they have been operating with minimal staff.’

Furlough support is set to reduce from next month with further cuts until it is axed completely at the end of September.

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