Health minister suggests further support unnecessary as hospitality venues ‘pretty full’
Health minister Gillian Keegan has suggested further support for the hospitality and catering sector will not be necessary as restaurants are “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”.
She told Sky News: “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 went on to say 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.
UKHospitality has suggested pubs, bars and restaurants lost an average of £10,335 in the week leading up to Christmas, with sales on the day itself down 60% on 2019.
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 has confirmed there will be no further Covid restrictions introduced in England in 2021, meaning New Year’s Eve celebrations can go ahead at hospitality venues.
The original version of this article was first published on Caterer News
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