Whitbread, which owns the Premier Inn brand, has warned that 6,000 jobs at the hotel chain are at risk as Covid-19 decimates its city centre businesses. Tourist hotspots held up better but in August the company saw stays halve and diner numbers plummet by more than one third as London and other major cities failed to attract customers back due to the pandemic.

Whitbread doesn’t expect to see things improve much until 2021 and possibly not until 2022. The Government furlough scheme ends on 31 October and currently 27,00 Whitbread staff are benefiting from the scheme.

Whitbread chief Alison Brittain said the company was hoping to avoid compulsory redundancies. “With demand for travel remaining subdued, we are now having to make some very difficult decisions, and it is with great regret that today we are announcing our intention to enter into a consultation process that could result in up to 6,000 redundancies in the UK, of which it is hoped that a significant proportion can be achieved voluntarily.”