Whitbread may halve the number of jobs cuts it announced, due to flexibility of staff to work fewer hours and to be redeployed, The Times reports.

The Premier Inn and Beefeater operator has been going through a consultation process on 6,000 job cuts, though is now expected to tell staff that a “significant number” of the job cuts will no longer be needed.

While the revised number of redundancies is not confirmed, the company said the figure would be significantly less than originally planned.

Whitbread has more than 800 hotels in Britain, Germany and the Middle East and around 400 Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table pub restaurants.

After lockdown it was forced to go back to shareholders to ask for £1 billion of new equity.

Whitbread’s decision to reduce the number of job losses is believed to have been based on the extension of the furlough scheme, and hopes that a vaccine could soon become available, as well as staff switching to reduced hours or accepting redeployment.

The group had hoped that the 6,000 cuts, equating to about 18% of its workforce, would largely be achieved voluntarily. It was also close to completing a process to cut its head office of 1,300 people by about 250.