Health Minister Gillian Keegan MP has said that the government has provided sufficient financial support already for the hospitality sector, saying people are going out, and venues remain “pretty full”.
The Conservative MP for Chichester said her experience of dining out in London during the festive season had suggested “people are still going out”.
Speaking on Sky News she said: “We put a £1b package of measures in place just before this period, but I’ve been out a couple of times, my sister’s over from the States so we have been out to a couple of restaurants and they’ve been pretty full, people are still going out they’re just taking a lateral flow test before and obviously being a bit more cautious.”
The Minister added that people should enjoy their New Year celebrations “cautiously”.
On 21 December the Treasury announced businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector could apply for one-off grants of up to £6,000, with an additional £100m of discretionary funding to be distributed by local authorities. The £1b package was branded “way off the mark” by beleaguered operators.
Figures from UKHospitality show hospitality businesses on average in the week leading up to Christmas alone have lost approximately £10,300. Data from Springboard reveals that that footfall throughout Christmas has been significantly depressed. Bothy outcomes are a direct consequence of government advising people to ‘cautiously’ manage their own decisions. Washing their hands of any decision making, or support of any real substance.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls had said: “In order to help the industry recover and return to growth, the government must commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% and offering enhanced rates relief. Further support will also be needed should additional restrictions be imposed or the tougher measures in Scotland and Wales be retained into 2022.”
Health secretary Sajid Javid confirmed on Monday (December 27) that there will be no further Covid restrictions introduced in England in 2021, meaning New Year’s Eve celebrations can go ahead at hospitality venues.