Government urged to ‘close’ hospitality deal as socialization discouraged

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Labor has accused Rishi Sunak of “eating out to help” in the United States as businesses struggle at home.

Wes Streeting said the chancellor should “take a flight home and get it under control” amid reports he is in California on an official trip.

The shadow health secretary urged the government to “strike a deal to help hospitality,” as business leaders expressed concerns over calls for people to consider limiting their social contact around Christmas.

Health Minister Gillian Keegan insisted on Thursday that measures were still in place to help businesses weather the pandemic.

But Labor said further support was needed after Professor Chris Whitty told the public on Wednesday to prioritize events that “really matter to them” during the holiday season, in a bid to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not respond to England’s chief medical officer warning, instead urging people to “think carefully” before attending the celebrations.

The news has raised concerns in the hospitality industry as people question whether to risk parties or cancel plans to improve their chances of spending Christmas with their family.

British Chambers of Commerce President Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith said on Wednesday Professor Whitty’s plea “will almost certainly have a huge impact on business.”

“Despite this, we still have not heard of any further financial support measures from the government to help these businesses and others severely affected by the current restrictions,” she said.

(PA Graphics)

And the boss of Shepherd Neame, which has 320 pubs and hotels, said Thursday his business is now in a “zombie world.”

Managing Director Jonathan Neame told Times Radio: “Go to the pubs. Don’t go to pubs.

“That was the message from the last time, which is a really confusing and difficult message, and which confuses both operators and customers.

“Until now, I think people were primarily concerned not with their personal health, but with isolating themselves and missing Christmas as a family.

“It was sort of a key factor behind the cancellations.

“But I’m afraid the message is changing now. And as a result, we could see a lot more acceleration of cancellations. “

He added: “The acute problem is, if you miss Christmas – and we’re in the zombie world where we’re desperately trying to hang on to the staff and want to hang on to the staff – then what could be very profitable could quickly runs into a significant loss.

Chancellor and business secretary to bring business leaders to table with union leaders to strike deal to help hotel industry

Ghost Secretary of Health Wes Streeting

Mr Streeting stressed that hotel companies were going through “a difficult period at the moment” and said the government should be “on their side”.

“I think the chancellor and the business secretary need to get the business leaders around the table with the union leaders to make a deal to help hospitality because, you know, they really need us right now. “he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

He also said Mr Sunak should “take a flight home and get the situation under control” after the Daily Mirror reported the Chancellor was on an official four-day trip to the United States to meet with leaders from the tech industries. and investment.

He told Times Radio: “We understand that the Chancellor is currently out of the country in California.

“So maybe he might want to take a flight home and get it under control because businesses need certainty and confidence now.”

And Mr Streeting told Sky News it was not good for Mr Sunak to “eat out to help out” in the United States when British businesses were struggling.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, Labor has written to Mr Sunak urging him to provide more support to companies facing a ‘stealth shutdown’ amid growing fears of the coronavirus.

“It is time for the government to present its plans to ensure our big UK companies and their workers the clarity and support they need to weather this storm,” he said.

Shadow Chief Treasury Secretary Pat McFadden is due to ask an urgent question in the Commons on Thursday, asking the Chancellor if he will make a statement on government support for business given the advice to “deprioritize social contacts.”

Ms Keegan admitted on LBC that the situation is “terrible” for hospitality after she also suffered last Christmas.

But she insisted that there is still support for business.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

She told Sky News: “So we still have VAT cuts, we still have 66% corporate rate cuts and we still have clawback loans in place.”

The health minister also told LBC that she was forced to cancel a ski trip over Christmas due to the growing threat from Omicron.

Professor Andrew Hayward, member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said a balance must be struck between “the impact on the economy, the impact on people’s social lives and the impact on the virus and subsequent hospitalizations “.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I think the scale of the potential problem we’re looking at here means we have to bite the bullet and we have to tell people that there are two really important things here.

“One is to be boosted, the other, if we want to slow it down now … then what we have to do is reduce the number of contacts we have, we have to avoid crowded spaces with a lot of people. and unfortunately yes that means parties etc.

“And so that’s a difficult message.”

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “As we have done throughout the pandemic, we are closely monitoring the impact of the virus on the economy – and in particular the hotel sector – which is why the Chancellor meeting with industry representatives today.

“Our £ 400 billion Covid support program will continue to help businesses until the spring of next year, and of course we will continue to respond proportionately to the evolution of the virus.

“To continue to protect our economic recovery and the lives and livelihoods of the British people, our priority now is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to ‘get boosted now’.”

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