NEARLY all the 93 employees at Elmers Court hotel and resort in Lymington are proposed to be made redundant, a leaked letter has revealed.
Handed to the A&T by a hotel employee who wished to remain anonymous, the letter said owner Macdonald Hotels plans to keep on only a receptionist, two night staff, its general manager, a maintenance supervisor, sous chef, resort housekeeping supervisor and resort supervisor – just eight in total.
It said the firm’s objective was to “put the resort in a position where it will survive the current crisis brought about by the coronavirus pandemic”, and while the government’s furlough scheme had assisted, it will “incur substantially more losses” than what that will cover.
The letter said Macdonald Hotels had concluded it needed to dismiss “at least 20 members of staff” within 90 days or less, but overall 85 were proposed out of the 93.
Asked about the letter on Wednesday, a spokesman for Macdonald Hotels said it did not want to respond. Instead it referred the A&T to a statement it made last week.
That said Macdonald Hotels, which owns 31 hotels and resorts throughout Scotland and England, had begun a company-wide redundancy consultation involving its 2,299 employees.
Group deputy chairman Gordon Fraser added it was “looking at” around 1,800 roles at risk in all areas and levels of the business.
But the letter has prompted the New Forest Liberal Democrat party to write to Conservative New Forest East and West MPs, Dr Julian Lewis and Sir Desmond Swayne, to lobby the government for more financial aid for the hospitality industry.
The Lib Dems said the Covid-19 outbreak had a “disastrous impact” on the hospitality and tourism industry, which employs 9,000 people across the district.
“It is vital, therefore, to the local economy that we keep these businesses afloat. However, Covid-19 has meant that these businesses have lost most of the 2020 season and, even when opening again, will only be able to set up at a maximum of 60% capacity due to social distancing guidelines.
“Therefore, we urge you as MPs for the New Forest, to support calls for the furlough scheme to be extended until spring 2021 and to lobby your government to put in place a clear package of financial support for the industry through the winter months.”
New Forest district and Lymington town Liberal Democrat councillor, Jack Davies, added:
“The visitor economy is absolutely crucial to the whole of the New Forest so we really need our MPs to speak out and lobby for more financial support for local businesses in the hospitality and tourism trade.
“The New Forest Liberal Democrats want to protect the more than 9,000 jobs that depend upon tourism in the New Forest and we hope this letter will help do this by convincing our MPs to take action.”