This evening Greg spoke in a Backbench Business debate on support for the hospitality sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.
With a 3 minute time limit Greg focussed his comments on our local pubs and breweries. Had there been more time available he would have also expressed his support for our vibrant weddings sector, businesses in the supply chains for hospitality and the wider events sector.
In the Budget it was great news that the Chancellor continued support for hospitality in the form of additional grants, extension to the Job Retention Scheme, 5% VAT rate continuation and business rates holiday. However Greg used his speech to argue for further measures to close the gap.
In particular he spoke of his support for:
- the Countryside Alliance's #UnlockInn campaign, especially with relation to the urgent need for pubs to be allowed to sell takeaway alcohol to level the playing field with the supermarkets
- the Long Live the Local campaigns calls for a beer duty cut
- the Campaign for Real Ale's proposals around a draught beer duty cut which could see 1,000 jobs created in the on-sales sector
- the need to reverse the proposed changes to Small Breweries’ Relief to support our small independent brewers like Chiltern, XT, Vale and Blackpit.
Greg said: "It is crucial for the sector that the Government commits to following the dates the roadmap sets (or bringing them forward). There is a wealth of data out there that shows our pubs are safe when it comes to Covid. Or at least safer than people meeting in homes or gardens. So whilst caution is admirable, I fear for hospitality there is too much caution being shown. Let’s get those pints pouring in our pubs once more."