The night-time economy is “on the brink of collapse” with more than 700,000 jobs at risk — and the end of the furlough scheme could be “the final blow”, an industry body has warned.
A survey of Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) members found 71 per cent of businesses are set to make “more than half” of their workforce redundant “in a matter of weeks”.
The Job Retention Scheme, which has seen the Government pay 80 per cent of wages for more than 10 million furloughed employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to end on October 31.
Indoor performances at music venues have been allowed since August 15, although many venues such as nightclubs remain shut due to physical and financial issues surrounding social distancing.
The NTIA warning comes after the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reported a drop in employment of 695,000 jobs since March 2020, when lockdown began.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night-Time Industries Association, said: “While these unemployment figures are harrowing, they come as no surprise. The night-time economy alone has been hugely damaged by the coronavirus pandemic and is on the brink of collapse and an onslaught of redundancies.
“The end of the furlough scheme is fast approaching, and our industry is one of few without a ‘road-map’ to reopening or sector-specific support. The end of the Job Retention scheme will come as the final blow to thousands of businesses struggling for survival.
“We are reaching a critical point and without decisive and comprehensive action from the Government, businesses will be forced to make tough decisions about their futures and those of their staff.”
A handful of London clubs, such as Brixton Jamm, The Cause and Studio 338, have moved their venues outside in order to reopen in a Covid-secure way.