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Jobs at New Forest hotel under threat as owner may cut 1,800 roles across its sites

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Elmers Court is one of 31 sites owned by Macdonald Hotels
Elmers Court is one of 31 sites owned by Macdonald Hotels

THE company which owns Elmers Court hotel and resort at Lymington could shed hundreds of staff in the wake of the hospitality industry shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Macdonald Hotels Group, which has 31 hotels and resorts throughout Scotland and England, has begun a company-wide redundancy consultation process involving all its 2,299 employees. Elmers Court has 94 staff.

Group deputy chairman Gordon Fraser said: “We had really hoped to avoid this very unwelcome step, but with no realistic prospects of a return to anything like normal trading for the foreseeable future, we were simply left with no choice.

“Potentially, we are looking at around 1,800 roles at risk, in all areas and at all levels of the business.

Mr Fraser added: “The government’s furlough scheme has helped to a degree but our essential operating costs, insurance and some wages are still having to be paid, meaning our monthly cash outgoings are still running at £2m while we are forced to remain closed.

“Even after cutting all non-essential spending and with senior management and our remaining staff accepting reduced salaries, the current situation is simply unsustainable.

“There is no realistic prospect of us returning to anything approaching normality for the foreseeable future and, whilst its enormously regrettable, we simply must take these steps to ensure that we have a meaningful business when this situation ends, enabling us to bring back as many of our employees as possible.”

He said it was “a tragedy” that operators throughout the industry were being forced to make very difficult decisions to either close completely or cut hardworking and valued members of staff.

“Everyone understands that drastic steps had to be taken to halt coronavirus but the only way out of this for our industry is when the current restrictions are eased significantly, and people feel comfortable returning to hotels and restaurants,” Mr Fraser continued.

“Given the enormous importance of the tourism and hospitality sector for local economies the length and breadth of the UK, it is incumbent upon both the Westminster and Scottish governments to do everything they can to support our industry.

“If they fail to do so, many long-standing and well-loved businesses will simply not survive, scarring some of our most fragile communities for years to come.”

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