AT least six local hotels have made staff redundant this week after the government advised people not to go out socialising.

Hospitality industry consultant Simon Scarborough said the chancellor’s promise of support worth at least £330billion had not made “any difference whatsoever” in the sector.

The chancellor offered a year’s business rates holiday to all hospitality businesses and shops, as well as grants and loans to keep businesses afloat. But Mr Scarborough said hotels would be reluctant to borrow money to meet their wage bills while no money was coming in.

“Our biggest market is the over-70s and they’re being told to stay inside for three months,” he said.

“I know of hotels that made people redundant last week. I know of six hotels that are making staff redundant this week.

“A lot of hotels struggle through the winter. They get to Easter and build up their reserves until October and they’re not going to build up any reserves this year. Many will say, why do we need to take more loans out?”

He was concerned that customers would have much less spending power even when restrictions on socialising were eased. “They may be able to travel but people won’t be coming because they won’t have the money,” he said.

“I will be surprised if a lot of businesses reopen again,” he added.

Mark Cribb, founder of the Urban Guild venues which employ 100 people locally, said of the industry: “We’re the third biggest employer in the country. You’re looking at over a million people about to be laid off.”

He said he was hopeful that the government would step in to offer more help. “We’ve been very clear in our feedback. Nobody has a contingency plan to go to zero revenue,” he said.

He said the industry had been through its toughest winter on record in the hope that spring would bring more business. “You couldn’t really have a more catastrophic national backdrop to put your business to zero revenue,” he added.

Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood said he would be meeting hoteliers tomorrow.

“Many hotels have got in touch with me,” he said.

“We’ve had a huge package of support form the chancellor. This complements the health package to essentially keep people alive, but ultimately the financial measures taking place must get to the frontline very quickly indeed,” he said.

He said the details of the available support should be clearer today.