Saints, who claim to be the largest employers in rugby league, own their own stadium and say they have so far lost over £1million in non-match day hospitality and events revenue.
St Helens chief executive Mike Rush says the club are faced with job losses which could have been avoided with clearer, consistent and timely decision-making by policy makers.
“The reality of the inconsistency of Government decision making has serious consequences,” Rush wrote.
“The club has accessed furlough relief where possible and this is welcomed and the club has already submitted a loan application to Government.
“However, as a club which built its own stadium, runs it properly and employs its people directly, we have been prevented from further accessing support that would have been available if the business was structured differently.
“Despite the fact that the stadium is closed to all but the hosting of behind closed doors games, our business cannot access the Closed Job Support Scheme yet we are a hospitality business.
Today, our CEO Mike Rush sent an Open Letter to the Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP. The letter outlines specific and profound challenges faced by St.Helens R.F.C. – the largest employer in Rugby League. https://t.co/ZO0OZk26Is
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) October 29, 2020
“Due to the fact that we employ all who work here – specifically our catering colleagues – we have been unable to access business reliefs which are available to outsourced hospitality services.
“Perversely, we are being discriminated against due to our investment into our business and into our local people.
“This is real people losing their employment through no fault of their own in a town where jobs are extremely difficult to find and mental health and other health inequalities are some of the most challenging in the country.
“It is extremely serious and as a club we are heartbroken.
“The Chancellor has said ‘we cannot save every job’. Sadly, we all know that is probably right.
“But where a good employer is fighting tooth and nail to save them and jobs are being lost due to inflexibility, inconsistent categorisation of businesses and last-minute changes in Government schemes – we have to speak out.
“Lives and livelihoods are literally at stake.”
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