Press Release: As Cineworld Newcastle faces closure, local MP Chi Onwurah hits out at ‘Suni’s Scrapheap’ 

As Cineworld Newcastle faces closure, local MP Chi Onwurah hits out at ‘Suni’s Scrapheap’ 

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has called on the Chancellor for urgent targeted help for Newcastle’s hospitality sector.

There are 10,000 people employed by hospitality businesses in Newcastle Central. Sunak has dismissed these jobs as “unviable,” relegating them to the scrap heap, including: 1,500 event caterers, 600 cinema and theatre staff, 350 nightclub workers, 2,000 bar and pub staff and 2,250 restaurant and café staff.

In his ‘Winter Economic Plan’ the Chancellor completely failed to mention these businesses or acknowledge the fact that they will be forced to remain fully or mainly closed for the next six months.

Chi said: “Newcastle has a globally renowned hospitality sector. The latest news of Cineworld’s closure highlights a worrying trend for our beloved nightlife. For the Chancellor to deem these jobs ‘unviable’ is insulting and wrong. We need targeted support to help these businesses through this crisis. The government must act now to protect the 10,000 jobs dependent on this sector in Newcastle Central and unlock government support for this vital part of our local economy.”

Ends

 

Notes to Editor:

Sunak’s scrap heap – the jobs in Newcastle Central the government has dismissed as “unviable”

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is dismissing workers and businesses that are currently shut down or operating at hugely reduced capacity as “unviable” – even though they are doing the right thing and following government guidance to help tackle the coronavirus.

Under Rishi Sunak, “unviable” jobs not worthy of supporting include those in the wedding industry, events and exhibitions, major parts of the night-time economy like nightclubs and pubs, festivals, sports venues and theatres.

In his ‘Winter Economic Plan’ the Chancellor completely failed to mention these businesses or acknowledge the fact that they will be forced to remain fully or mainly closed for the next six months.

The government’s Job Support Scheme is only open to those employers who offer their employees at least a third of their usual hours – impossible for those industries still closed. The scheme is also fundamentally flawed because, for every two members of staff, it is cheaper for a company to bring back one member of staff full-time and fire the other, than to have two workers working part time.

The failure of the government to implement an effective test, track and trace system means that these businesses do not have any idea of when they can safely reopen.

There are 44,370 jobs in the North East at risk, and more than a million “unviable” jobs at risk across England, Wales and Scotland.

The businesses and workers in Newcastle Central Sunak has dismissed as “unviable” and dismissed to the scrap heap include:

  • The events and conferences industry – including 1,500 event caterers.
  • The creative, arts and entertainment sector including theatres and cinemas – still shut-down or operating at reduced capacity – employing 600 people.
  • The UK’s night life industry – including 350 people employed in nightclubs, and 2,000 people employed in pubs and bars. These businesses are either still shutdown or operating at much reduced capacity and now hit by a 10pm curfew.
  • The restaurant industry – including the 2,250 working in restaurants and cafes.
  • The sports industry – including 1,000 working in local sports clubs.

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah said:

“Newcastle has a globally renowned hospitality sector. The latest news of Cineworld’s closure highlights a worrying trend for our beloved nightlife.

“For the Chancellor to deem these jobs ‘unviable’ is insulting and wrong. We need targeted support to help these businesses through this crisis. The government must act now to protect the 10,000 jobs dependent on this sector in Newcastle Central and unlock government support for this vital part of our local economy.”

Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said:

 

“The Chancellor is writing off thousands of businesses and a million workers, dismissing sectors that are shut down as “unviable” and locking them out of government support.

“That means the wedding industry, events, clubs, festivals and arts and sports venues are being labelled unviable simply because they are following public health guidance to help tackle the virus. This is insulting and wrong, and writing these businesses off will damage lives across the country and accelerate the jobs crisis.”

 

  • Employment and business figures are taken from ONS Nomis statistics unless otherwise specified.
  • From 24 September, businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, and adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include take-aways, but delivery and drive-thru services can continue after 10pm. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can continue beyond 10pm, but only if the performance started before 10pm, and food and drink cannot be served after 10pm. The planned return of business events and socially distanced crowds in stadia from 1 October and pilot events has now been paused.
  • The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) represents 1,200 bars, clubs, casinos and music venues. A survey recently found more than 80% of its members will have to lay off staff when the furlough scheme ends. The night time economy, is the UK’s fifth-biggest industry, accounting for at least 8% of the UK’s employment and annual revenues of £66bn.
  • The latest ONS figures(2017) show that more than 71,000 weddings take place Oct-Jan. It is likely that number would have been a lot higher this year as lots of couples who had to postpone during lockdown moved to autumn/winter.

 

 

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