Urgent calls for Rishi Sunak to ‘wake up and help’ hospitality as pubs face ‘lockdown by stealth’

"Colleagues across the UK are waking up broken and in fear."

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 16th December 2021

The hospitality industry is furiously calling for Rishi Sunak to ‘wake up and help’ after the public was advised to ‘de-prioritise’ social events.

It’s left pubs and restaurants facing a wave of cancellations as people heed Chris Whitty’s advice to ‘prioritise what matters’ ahead of Christmas.

In an echo of March 2020 – when Boris Johnson told people to avoid pubs, but stopped short of closing them with proper financial support – there’s currently no mention of how the Government will help hospitality businesses survive such financial losses.

The Chancellor has been markedly quiet on the matter of support, such as furlough, this time around – he’s currently in California, the Mirror has reported – sparking fury in the hospitality sector.

Well-known figures from the restaurant world have all made cries to the Chancellor like: “Stand up and help,” and: “It’s time for Rishi to say something.”

Rishi Sunak / Credit:

The Government has also been accused of ‘abusing hospitality’.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said on Twitter: “You can’t tell people to ‘think carefully’ before going to pubs and restaurants and then fail to provide any support for the workers/businesses affected.


“The Government needs to bring forward a support package TODAY for hospitality, events, music and other affected sectors.”

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Sacha Lord, who has been busy making rallying cries on news programmes this morning, tweeted: “Colleagues across the UK are waking up broken and in fear. Staff hours are dropping off a cliff.


“@RishiSunak YOU NEED TO STAND UP. We need IMMEDIATE help and a long term strategy to save us.”

He added that someone needs to ‘urgently wake up’ the Chancellor, saying that he has ‘turned his back’ on the fifth-largest industry in the UK.

Paul Jones is the co-founder of Manchester brewery Cloudwater, and actively involved in EatWell MCR’s mission to provide tasty meals to vulnerable people in the region.

He supported the message to limit social contacts as Omicron cases rise, but said: “The government is abusing hospitality businesses by (rightly) encouraging reduced socialisation at this time of sky-rocketing Omicron cases, but wrongly and callously offering no financial support to industries directly affected by sharp downturns.”

Cloudwater’s Manchester taproom / Credit: Cloudwater

Tom Kerridge, of Manchester’s Bull & Bear restaurant, was on Sky News this morning, saying: “You have to question as to why we have a point where Chris Whitty is saying one thing and the Government don’t appear to be backing that up or saying the same thing.


“You have to question, is that because there isn’t a support package there? Or if there is, it’s time for Rishi Sunak – wherever he’s gone – to say something and let us know what’s going on.”

Celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr said it was giving ‘Deja vu March 2020’, and First Dates host and hospitality figure Fred Sirieix described the situation as ‘a shambles’.

Elaine Wrigley, from Manchester’s Atlas Bar, said: “If targeted support was there, then @GOVUK guidance would be fine. We all want to do the right thing.

“Reality however, is that we’ve #lockdown by stealth, and a very concerning winter ahead of us, in city centres, #Manchester. Where is @RishiSunak @BorisJohnson?”

The Guardian’s Gaby Hinsliff posted: “All eyes on Rishi Sunak, then. Morally wrong for PM to host a presser unsubtly-hinting-but-not-quite-saying don’t go out on the town in the run-up to Christmas, but then deny support pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas etc. Parliament should force the issue.”

Featured Image – Wikimedia Commons