The owner of Butlin’s holiday parks has warned that it will be forced to lay off 10,000 workers if it does not receive sufficient state support to pay them during its traditional peak trading period.
Sky News has learnt that Paul Flaum, chief executive of the privately owned Bourne Leisure Group, has told the government in recent days that its entire seasonal workforce may be on the brink of being axed.
Sources said Mr Flaum had yet to make a final decision about the move but that without emergency aid to pay workers’ wages, there was little prospect of the company employing them through the summer.
Bourne owns the Butlin’s and Haven resorts, as well as Warner Leisure Hotels.
During a typical peak trading period, as many as 15,000 people work across more than 50 Bourne-owned sites across the UK.
Earlier this week, the company offered to make its sites available to the NHS as part of its efforts to deal with the outbreak.
The disclosure of Mr Flaum’s concerns about his workforce provides one example of how the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing bosses in the leisure and hospitality industries to take brutal decisions just days after the government announced restrictions on trading activity.
UK Hospitality, the sector’s trade body, has warned repeatedly in the last week that one million jobs or more are at risk without targeted support from the government.
Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will unveil a further phase of the government’s economic rescue plan later on Friday.
It is expected to include substantial wage subsidies, which would be in addition to at least £350bn of support announced earlier this week.
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