JDW and M&B among pubcos to claim most furlough in December

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Furlough claims: the Government has published information on how much employers claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for December 2020 (image: syahrir maulana, Getty Images)
Furlough claims: the Government has published information on how much employers claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for December 2020 (image: syahrir maulana, Getty Images)

Related tags: Furlough, lockdown, coronavirus, Beer, Jd wetherspoon, Greene king, Mitchells & butlers, Marston's pub company

JD Wetherspoon and Mitchells & Butlers were among the pub companies to claim the most through the furlough scheme in December 2020.

Figures published by the Government indicate the amount claimed by the country’s largest pub companies within a banded range.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (CRJS) the Government contributes 80% towards wages of staff who cannot work amid the pandemic. 

Pubs were hit by a regional tier system in December, following England’s second national lockdown.

Stringent rules limited socialising between households, tightened rules on the sale of alcohol and instigated a curfew for drinkers, with tougher measures for areas reporting high coronavirus numbers.

Most of the country had been placed into the most severe restrictions days before Christmas, meaning pubs were forced to close.​ 

Job cuts

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) claimed between £25,000,001 to £50,000,000 under the furlough scheme at the end of last year. 

More than 300 staff were made redundant across JDW’s airport sites and head office, The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ reported last month.

Mitchells & Butlers Leisure Retail Limited also claimed between £25,000,001 to £50,000,000.

The Birmingham-based pub operator set out its plans to raise £350m through an open share offer last month (February).

Greene King also claimed a substantial amount through the scheme, with one division (Greene King Retail Services Limited) claiming between £10,000,001 to £25,000,000 and another trading division (Greene King Services Ltd) £5,000,001 to £10,000,000.

The Suffolk-based pub company and brewer has some 38,000 employees. Greene King CEO, Nick Mackenzie, shared that the company was presently burning through £7m a week.

Another big employer, Stonegate Pub Company — which completed a takeover of Ei Group last year​ — claimed between £5,000,001 to £10,000,000 for the month.

Ei Group Limited claimed between £250,001 to £500,000.

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company also claimed a high amount through the scheme, with one trading division (Marston’s Beer Company), claiming for between £500,001 to £1,000,000.

Cash burn

What’s more, a division named Marston’s Trading Limited, claimed between £5,000,001 to £10,000,000.

In a trading report in January, the company said 97% of its employees were presently furloughed and its cash burn in full lockdown was an estimated £3m to £4m per week.

HMRC also published information on other pub companies, including Admiral Taverns, which claimed between £100,001 to £250,000 and Punch Taverns which claimed between £0.01 to £10,000.

The Government will publish a new list each month, meaning claim information for January 2021 will be published at the end of March 2021. This publication will also include a refresh of the December 2020 information to take into consideration any amendments or repayments.

The furlough scheme is set to expire at the end of April 2021, with the trade calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the policy at the upcoming Budget (Wednesday 3 March). 

Pub bosses have also called for an end on the requirement for employers to pay National Insurance contributions, with one operator telling The MA​ the extra expense was "killing" their business.

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