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Mitchells & Butlers, the pubs and restaurants group, has begun redundancy consultations with a number of staff as it struggles with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

M&B, whose chains include Harvester and All Bar One, has about 1,700 pubs and restaurants and 44,000 employees.

It has not yet disclosed how many jobs are at risk.

A spokesperson for the company described it as “a difficult and regrettable decision”.

M&B would “seek to redeploy affected staff wherever possible”, the spokesperson added.

“Our industry is operating in exceptionally challenging and uncertain circumstances.

“While we have worked incredibly hard to make sites Covid-19 secure and keep staff and customers safe, we are facing significant difficulties from the recently introduced 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, new enforced closures and tapering government support that doesn’t go far enough.”

Trading uncertainty

M&B’s spokesperson also called for further government support for the hospitality sector.

“With trading restrictions and uncertainty likely to continue for the foreseeable future, we strongly urge the government to step up the level of support it is offering to an industry which has been repeatedly singled out and taken the full brunt of restrictions.”

Other well-known brands in the M&B stable include Toby Carvery and O’Neill’s.

The move comes after warnings by the hospitality industry that the new coronavirus restrictions will come as a huge blow to bars and restaurants across much of England.

Bars and pubs in Liverpool have been instructed to close from Wednesday and will receive financial support.

But venues in “tier 2” areas, including large parts of the North and Midlands, will lose custom, with households no longer allowed to mix indoors.

Trade body the Night Time Industries Association is pressing for a judicial review of the restrictions.


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