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Last-minute payment for pubs will still leave many worse off says Portsmouth MP

Labour has revealed that the Prime Minister’s last-minute one-off payment announced today for pubs that are forced to close because they don’t serve food will leave the vast majority seriously struggling and well short of the emergency cash offered during the first national lockdown.

The average pub received a grant worth £6,666 a month during the lockdown in March. Even after today’s announcement of an additional one-off payment, pubs forced to close will receive just £3,000 a month – £3,666 less than they did during the first lockdown.

The payment is a one-off and there was no mention of what will happen after January.

Restaurants and cafes, also hit hard by public health restrictions, received no additional support today from Government – with the vast majority still receiving just a third or half of what they received in the March lockdown.

Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP who has been taking a range of actions to speak up for our city’s hospitality businesses during this challenging time for the industry, responded to this analysis, and said:

“The government’s approach to supporting areas under local restrictions is fundamentally unfair and risks a gulf in support opening up across the country. 

We all know that hospitality businesses have been hit hard by this pandemic. By engaging with a number of small businesses owners I understand the challenges a number of pubs and bars across our city are facing. Businesses are also in the dark about the future of the furlough scheme, which is up for review in January.

That’s why we must have a business support package that reflects business need and length of time under each tier and why I will continue to lobby Government for targeted support for sectors and industries in Portsmouth hit hardest by this crisis”.

Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, added:

“Pubs across the country are facing tough restrictions to help tackle the virus, with many forced to close completely during the most crucial time of year for their trade.

This last-minute emergency payment for pubs could have been a lifeline. Instead it’s small beer that won’t even reach the sides of the income gap they’re facing.

Boris Johnson’s failure to properly support them is fundamentally unfair and makes a mockery of his promise to these communities.”

Stephen Morgan MP has put pressure on Government to help the city’s hospitality sector with parliamentary questions, writing to relevant departments and lobbying Ministers directly. He has hosted a number of online meetings and visits to hear local concerns and to take them to Westminster.