Mon, 10 Aug 2020

UK unemployment claims double to almost 3 million amid lockdown

The government aid has replaced about 57% of the hit to take-home pay caused by the job losses during the lockdown, while savings jumped to 21% of disposable income in the second quarter, compared with 8.4% in the previous three months, Hanson estimated.

"We've had a very difficult time with the furloughed money; the system doesn't work for us," said Benjamin Iles, landlord of Popcorn and the Marlborough Arms pubs in Chester in northwest England. Iles spent 85,000 pounds of his own wedding fund trying to keep staff afloat.

Undeterred though, Iles is opening his larger venue Saturday and has already taken 1,000 reservations for the coming week.

"There are many other pubs that won't be able to open yet, which means we're going to be even busier for a while because other venues aren't there for demand," he said.

Reopening will be a fragile process, said James Watt, the co-founder and CEO of BrewDog. It isn't just new outbreaks or lockdowns that have him worried - it's how an industry that's predicated on drinking and socializing responds to a crisis that isn't going away.

"We need to build up consumer confidence and show that it's a safe environment, but if some places don't behave responsibly and there's a backlash, that won't just shake confidence in one business but across the entire sector," Watt said.

That confidence was clear on Saturday among some regular customers at the Milk House in Sissinghurst in Kent, southeast of London, where staff are enforcing a one-way system and wearing large clear visors.

"I've saved a fortune over lockdown, about a grand," said Keith Borough, a dance-floor technician. "I could buy a car".

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