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Cancellations drive slump

The ONS reported that the hotel and restaurant sector saw cancellations increase by 45% from 15 December to 3 January.

The ONS added that 37% of hotels and restaurants also reported a shortage of workers - a number which had remained stable since late October.

The study came as the IHS Markit/CIPS services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to a 10-month low of 53.6 in December from 58.5 in November, according to final data.

"Mass cancellations of bookings in response to the Omicron variant led to a slump in consumer spending on travel, leisure and entertainment," IHS Markit economist Tim Moore said.

The last time the services PMI was lower was in February 2020 when the economy was still under lockdown, and restaurants and non-essential shops were closed to the public.

Precautions have varied across the UK.

In Wales An immediate increase in financial support and the lifting of trading restrictions was urgently needed to prevent Welsh hospitality businesses closures and job losses, UKHospitality Cymru has warned.

“Across the board, enforced sub-viable trading and the associated cautionary climate has fuelled a festive flop in our pubs, restaurants, hotels and wider hospitality,” said David Chapman, Executive Director of UKHospitality Cymru.

“A disastrous Christmas and New Year under the latest restrictions has left many facing a perilous financial position with grants falling way short of what is needed. In particular, retaining staff on current Government supports is unsustainable. Wales’ nightclubs are closed but are expected to keep a full staff roster, for maybe as long as two months, with a grant that doesn’t even amount to a busy night’s takings,” said Chapman.

“Their English counterparts are reporting falling footfall and heavy losses even without the stringent additional set of restrictions being imposed in Wales - revenue is at least 25% lower than across the border at present.

“If financial support isn’t swiftly forthcoming, grave commercial impacts are inevitable, which will hugely damage communities across Wales,” Chapman added.


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