A PUB group with four sites in Hampshire has said it could cut its workforce by at least a quarter after being hammered by lockdown restrictions.

Clive Watson, chairman of City Pub Group, told the PA News Agency that “at least 25 per cent” of roles are at risk but said this “could be more in the end”.

The company, which runs 48 pubs, had around 1,000 employees prior to the pandemic.

It has London Road Brew House in Southampton, the Westgate and Alfie’s in Winchester and the Inn on the Beach, Hayling Island.

It has reopened 37 sites but said it expects jobs to be hit at its remaining 11 sites when the current furlough scheme ends next month.

“With the sites that are currently closed, jobs will go and we are now seeing how current restrictions will impact others,” Mr Watson told PA.

“We are looking at this affecting at least 25 per cent of our workforce we have to say, although this could be more.”

The company has now started a consultation which could see staff agree to reduced hours, he added.

Mr Watson said he expects there to be a jobs “bloodbath” among pubs and hospitality firms once the job retention scheme comes to an end on October 31.

He said the replacement job support scheme, which was announced by the chancellor last week, was “not suitable as a mechanism to save jobs in the pub trade”.

Mr Watson said the business was “fairly well protected” from the impact of the 10pm curfew and believes that people will change their habits as a result.

“I think we are already seeing some signs that people are coming to pubs earlier and obviously that’s something we’re keen to see,” he said.

“The desire to go to the pub is definitely still there but I think we’ll see more shifts in people’s habits as restrictions continue to change.

“I think Christmas will be tough without Christmas parties and big groups, but hopefully we might also not see the same fall in January as people usually detox. We’ll just have to see how things pan out.”

The comments came as the group hailed “strong” revenues since reopening, with like-for-like sales at around 80 per cent of previous levels.

It revealed that revenues tumbled to £12.1million for the six months to June 28, from £27.1m in the same period last year.