A senior Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrat has criticised the government’s latest coronavirus measures over fears that they could prove fatal for the pub trade and jobs in the wider hospitality sector.
Ben Thomas, a pub landlord who speaks for the party in Brighton Kemptown, was concerned about the newly announced 10pm closing time and rules allowing table service only in restaurants and pubs.
Mr Thomas, said: “Pubs and restaurants have already suffered heavily from the current restrictions, often having larger wage bills and paying for additional protection measures.
“Now they’re having the rug pulled from under them just as they start to recover.
“As the retention scheme is nearing an end, it is vital that the Chancellor extends support to this sector and makes a winter plan so that our pubs and restaurants can survive.
“The industry is a huge employer both for the country and Brighton and Hove locally and is vital to our local communities.
“Particularly in the event of more stringent or localised lockdowns, they need support now to be able to bounce our country back to prosperity in the future.”
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “For millions of people this will feel like a step backwards.
“After months of disruption to our daily lives many will feel anxious and worried about this latest development.
“The government must immediately put forward a detailed plan to fix the track and trace system, which is the only way to avoid further measures being necessary.
“The Prime Minister must also financially help pubs and restaurants who will inevitably lose business.
“After people have already been through so much hardship, we cannot allow thousands of jobs to disappear overnight.”