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Six-month shutdown of Northern Ireland hospitality industry 'may cost £600m'

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Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill

Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill

Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill

The shutdown of the hospitality industry will cost the local economy at least £100m per month, an industry body has projected.

Colin Neill, the chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, warned that locking the doors of pubs and restaurants to the public and mass cancellations of hotel bookings will make a huge financial impact as well as threaten the survival of businesses and job losses.

He said: "If you take it that the latest figure I've seen that we've been getting drawn up says the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland contributes something in the region of £1.4 billion to £1.5 billion per year. Well, shut us for six months and you can pretty much divide that in two and then some, because we'll not switch back on at full pelt again.

"Thinking of a worse case scenario of six months like this, that's really where we are ­- you are talking at least £100m a month."

Mr Neill has called for creative thinking from politicians to effectively freeze overheads on businesses so that they can survive.

He added: "Paramount is the nation's health and our staff's health and all those things, but also an important link to health is a job and mental health and getting back to work.

"It sustains 65,000 jobs, so again all of those jobs are in jeopardy.

"Obviously with what the Prime Minister and the Chancellor has done we expect to save a lot of jobs, but I think somewhere in there that there will be casualties."

Belfast Telegraph