The government has eased coronavirus restrictions for Christmas, but hospitality businesses are paying the price, according to Clive Jacobs.
Speaking on Sky News today, the chairman of Jacobs Media Group, parent company of The Caterer, said the industry had been "disproportionately hit" by government restrictions which "are not taking into account the efforts that the industry are making to ensure customer safety". He added that the chancellor's spending review today did not take into account "the damage that is going to be done".
Rishi Sunak's speech earlier did reveal that unemployment in the second quarter of 2022 was expected to hit 2.6 million, and Jacobs said he believed "a large amount of that increase" will be people from within the hospitality sector.
He said: "Hospitality generally has provided jobs for young people, often young people that don't have many qualifications and given them an opportunity to get their first step on the jobs ladder in life, and here we are just absolutely demolishing it.
"This could go well into the summer, by which time a large swathe of the industry will be permanently damaged and it just won't suddenly spring back to life. You can't magic businesses back to life, you can't expect entrepreneurs to just pick the pieces up after they've lost their homes and become bankrupt and just start again just like that."
When asked about the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, through which it has emerged more than 49,000 businesses claimed £849m for the discount scheme during the month of August, he described it as "highly successful" but a "short-term false start" which will be "of little use come the New Year".
He also said the tighter tier system set to be introduced next week as England exits its second lockdown as "hopeless for the industry". According to UKHospitality, 75% of businesses say they are unviable in Tier 2 without additional compensation. This increases to 94% in Tier 3.