Hospitality sector hit by delay to furlough bonuses

Hospitality bosses fear the Government U-turn on bonuses for retaining furloughed staff could jeopardise financing deals with lenders. 

Industry chiefs said they believed the Job Retention Bonus – which the Government said would pay £1,000 for each furloughed employee retained until the end of January – was ‘a promise’, and had ‘baked in’ the cash to their projections. 

After the Chancellor last week extended the furlough scheme to March 31 and deferred the bonus payment accordingly, firms will now have to go back to their forecasts, which could have a knock-on effect on their arrangements with lenders. 

'Naive': Industry chiefs said they believed the Job Retention Bonus was 'a promise', and had 'baked in' the cash to their projections

'Naive': Industry chiefs said they believed the Job Retention Bonus was 'a promise', and had 'baked in' the cash to their projections

‘Naive’: Industry chiefs said they believed the Job Retention Bonus was ‘a promise’, and had ‘baked in’ the cash to their projections

The biggest firms employing thousands of staff were in line to receive millions of pounds. A chief executive of a pub group called the deferral ‘naive’. 

He said: ‘If we had known in April the bonus wouldn’t be paid in February, we would have tackled the issue very differently – we wouldn’t have protected every job we did.’ 

A restaurant chain boss called the bonus ‘a promise we could plan around’. He said he had already spent some of the bonus on keeping as many staff in work as possible. Had he known the bonus would be postponed, it would have made financial sense to make more staff redundant in summer and give the rest full hours. 

He added: ‘Now I’m caught between making staff with no viable job redundant now, or contributing to their furlough costs until March.’ 

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