Pubs and the hospitality sector shouldn’t be scapegoated during the ongoing COVID crisis, Parliament told
That was the message from the Government’s Minister for Business, Paul Scully, during a debate in Parliament yesterday (12th January).
MPs were debating public petitions on support for the industry and whether to create a Minister for Hospitality to represent the sector in Government.
Parliamentarians from all corners of the UK took part in the debate, focusing on the importance of pubs, breweries and the wider hospitality sector to local economies and jobs.
Responding to the debate for the Government, Business Minister Paul Scully said he believed the value of the industry came not only to the economy – but also in supporting mental health and wellbeing, social cohesion and cultural integration.
In addition to saying that financial support schemes would be kept under review, the Minister also told MPs that the beer and pubs sector should not be scapegoated, highlighting the work done to make venues COVID-secure and stating that, despite lockdown restrictions, “that is not to say that hospitality in itself is the vector for transmission”.
Speaking after the debate, CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“MPs from all parties and from across the nations of the UK made it clear just how important pubs, social clubs and breweries are to communities – not only boosting local economies and providing jobs, but also as a key part of our social fabric, tackling loneliness and social isolation.
“It is clear that there is cross-party support for a long-term financial stimulus package to allow pubs, clubs and brewers to be part of the both the economic and social recovery from the COVID crisis, including backing for CAMRA’s campaigns to renew business rates holidays, extend VAT cuts to help wet-led pubs and cut beer duty for draught beer to help pubs compete with cheap supermarket booze once restrictions begin to lift.
“It was particularly encouraging to hear the Government’s Small Business Minister recognise all the hard work and investment that has gone into making pubs and hospitality businesses COVID-secure, and his belief that the sector shouldn’t be scapegoated. It’s important to make sure the Government encourages and allows everyone to socialise safely in our pubs, clubs and taprooms once restrictions are lifted.”