Further money for pubs and eating places hit by Tier lockdown

Christmas cheer: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has listened to pleas for more financial help for hospitality

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce extra cash for pubs and restaurants hit by new coronavirus restrictions to help them get through Christmas.

The Prime Minister could announce the extra cash for pubs and restaurants as early as tomorrow (Tuesday) in a bid to get to rebellious Tory MPs to vote through new coronavirus restrictions.

The government’s new tiered coronavirus system will slash income for pubs and restaurants, 98 per cent of which will either be in Tier 2 or Tier 3, in half meaning £7.8bn in lost incomes, according to trade body UKHospitality.

>See also: Non-essential retail and gyms to reopen next month under new tier rules

One government source told the Telegraph: “There are already grants of £2,000 and £3,000 for businesses in Tiers 2 and 3, but we recognise that we need to do more.”

The new tiered system, which has been described as a death knell for thousands of pubs and restaurants, requires all premises in Tier 3 to offer only takeaway service, while those in Tier 2 can only serve alcohol with “substantial meals” – restrictions which will apply to 99 per cent of Britain.

Ian Payne, chairman of Stonegate, Britain’s biggest pubs group with around 4,300 venues, told the Sunday Times that pubs “feel like scapegoats without the evidence to support what the government is doing,” and blamed the “forces of evil, otherwise known as Boris Johnson”.

Payne said: “There is no scientific evidence to suggest that pubs or restaurants are responsible for more than 3 per cent of outbreaks.”

>See also: £40m funding for hospitality firms in Scotland – what we know so far

According to UKHospitality, coronavirus restrictions have left 89 per cent of pubs and restaurants unviable as businesses. Since the first lockdown in March, 25,000 venues have closed permanently; a further 30,000 have yet to reopen.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, told the Sunday Times. “We’ll be walking through the smouldering ruins of an industry that was the third-largest in the UK.”

In response, UKHospitality has lobbied the government to adopt France’s hospitality rescue package, where venues forced to shut are reimbursed 20 per cent of sales anticipated in the run-up to Christmas, based on last year’s figures, capped at €10,000 (£8,980).

One bit of Christmas cheer for the hospitality sector is that more than 6.3m people told recruitment site Caterer.com that they would forgo the traditional homecooked meal on Christmas Day in order to eat out during the five-day coronavirus “armistice”, which kicks in on December 23.

Further reading

How to shift your pub or restaurant from eat-in to takeaway and delivery

 

 

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