Mitchells & Butlers has begun a redundancy consultation with a number of staff as it deals with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

M&B, which operates Harvester and All Bar One, has about 1,700 pubs and restaurants and 44,000 employees.

It has not yet disclosed how many jobs are at risk.

A spokesperson for the company described it as “a difficult and regrettable decision”.

M&B would “seek to redeploy affected staff wherever possible”, the spokesperson added.

“Our industry is operating in exceptionally challenging and uncertain circumstances.

“While we have worked incredibly hard to make sites Covid-19 secure and keep staff and customers safe, we are facing significant difficulties from the recently introduced 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, new enforced closures and tapering government support that doesn’t go far enough.”

M&B’s spokesperson also called for further government support for the hospitality sector.

“With trading restrictions and uncertainty likely to continue for the foreseeable future, we strongly urge the government to step up the level of support it is offering to an industry which has been repeatedly singled out and taken the full brunt of restrictions.”