Pub jobs at risk in Suffolk as Marston’s announce cuts

Jobs in Suffolk could be under threat Picture: GettyImages

Jobs in Suffolk could be under threat Picture: GettyImages - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Jobs could be on the line in Suffolk after pub chain Marston’s announced it was axing 2,000 jobs.

The group said round 2,150 of its pub workers currently on furlough support will be impacted.

The chain has six pubs in Suffolk and north Essex including Mermaid and Raven in Ipswich, White Hart in Newmarket and Flying Shuttle in Haverhill.

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Marston’s put the blame squarely on the recent nationwide measures to tackle the surge in coronavirus cases, which has seen curfews placed on hospitality venues and the closures of sites not serving food in high-risk areas such as Liverpool.

Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, said: “The additional restrictions which have been applied across the UK most recently present significant challenges to us and will make business more difficult for a period of time.

“I very much regret that the consequence of this is that the jobs of around 2,150 of our colleagues will be impacted, but it is an inevitable consequence of the limitations placed upon our business.

“We will be looking at our cost base further in the coming weeks.”

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Marston’s added that it believed the new rules “undermine consumer confidence and create uncertainty”.

It said: “The introduction of these further restrictions and guidance affecting pubs is hugely disappointing in view of a lack of clear evidence tying pubs to the recent increase in infection levels, and our own data which suggests that pubs are effective in minimising risks.”

Details of the job cuts at Marston’s comes as its annual results showed pub sales tumbled 34% to £515 million in the year to October 3, impacted heavily by the lockdown earlier this year.

Since pubs reopened in July, like-for-like pub sales were 10% lower over the 13-week period, helped by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out meal discount scheme in August.

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Brewery sales were 22% lower over the year at £306 million, though sales in retailers and off-licences lifted 23% as pubs were forced to close.

Marston’s announced a deal in May to merge with Carlsberg’s UK arm to form a joint venture worth around £780 million.

The tie-up will create the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company and is set to complete at the end of this month.