Scotland faces “unemployment crisis” in hospitality sector

Scotland could be facing an "unemployment crisis" in the hospitality industry without additional government support to help save jobs, Labour has said.

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Nicola Sturgeon has already pledged to introduce a Jobs Guarantee Scheme for younger Scots, but there are now concerns that if this is implemented before the furlough scheme comes to an end, it could see thousands of workers laid off.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes finally reopened their doors to customers today after months of Coronavirus lockdown. Labour says the hospitality sector employs more than 250,300 people across Scotland, including 47,000 in Glasgow and 42,000 in Edinburgh.

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Party leader Richard Leonard said: “The UK Government has responded to pressure and offered restaurants support – but only in the short-term. Otherwise a hospitality unemployment crisis could cause serious damage – not just for the workers laid off, but for everyone in Scotland.

"With a quarter of a million workers employed in the sector, Scotland’s economy depends on hospitality jobs, and Scotland’s hospitality sector needs jobs for good. Extending the furlough scheme in this sector could provide a lifeline to thousands of workers.

“The Scottish Government must step up the fight to save these jobs. Businesses need greater support to make the adaptations they need to accommodate greater social distancing, allowing them to keep more staff on their books. A quality Jobs Guarantee Scheme could stimulate demand as well, so that when the furlough scheme ends in other sectors workers can still afford to visit restaurants and bars.”

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