I have been speaking to a number of pubs and wet led businesses in the constituency and I have been working to raise the issues brought to me by local pubs and their supply chain in parliament.
Recently in the Public Accounts Committee I asked government Treasury officials what plans they had to support pubs and wet led businesses many of which are in a very urgent and perilous financial situation right now. The response was a list of measures the government have put in place up to date. However, we know that these measures have not gone far enough to support this industry which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. You can watch the session here and also view a transcript of the meeting here.
On 20th November I asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will include brewers in the retail, hospitality and leisure business rates relief programme; and if he will reopen the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund and include brewers. This question and the answer can be viewed here.
Sheffield MP’s met with government officials back in October to ask for scientific evidence of the role of the hospitality sector and Covid transmission, we were promised this evidence in the meeting and we are still waiting for it today.
On 13th October I wrote to Rishi Sunak MP to discuss the devastating and cumulative impact that multiple government decisions and a lack of financial support are having on small pubs, and social clubs; to ask for the scientific evidence for the 10pm curfew and the evidence for the different restrictions for those serving food and wet led businesses. I am still awaiting a response to this letter and the government is still unable to provide evidence for the different restrictions relating to serving food.
I voted to abstain in the latest vote on Covid Tiers because it is very clear that we need public health measures in place as Sheffield hospitals were full; at the same time financial support for, in particular, the hospitality sector with the overwhelming majority of the country in tiers 2 and 3 is wholly inadequate. The government has failed to use this latest lockdown to put a credible health and economic plan in place, we desperately needed a plan for both, therefore I abstained. There was also no way available for us to amend this legislation.
Pubs are absolutely vital to Sheffield Hallam, particularly since we have many rural and semi rural pubs which are at the centre of local communities and are often the only place that people have to socialise and meet. I will continue to do everything I can to raise this critical issue in parliament and nationally.