A UK government minister has today hinted that a loophole in the “substantial meals” clause could possibly enable thousands of pubs to reopen under Tier 2 restrictions.
Under the new “tougher” three tiered regional system, announced as part of the government’s COVID Winter Plan as England’s second national lockdown comes to an end, pubs and bars sitting in Tier 2 regions currently may not provide alcohol for consumption on the premises.
Unless it’s accompanied by a “substantial meal”, that is.
As per the current three tiered approach, Greater Manchester has now entered into Tier 3 restrictions, meaning that all hospitality businesses in the region must close, with the exception of takeout and delivery services.
The “substantial meal” rule however – a problem that Greater Manchester sadly knows all too well after grappling with the same situation under previous Tier 3 restrictions – means that thousands of ‘wet’ pubs in Tier 2 locations across the country have had to temporarily close doors.
But now, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has today appeared to pose a possible solution during an interview on Sky News this morning.
Mr Williamson said that drinkers could not order themselves takeaways to meet the substantial meal requirement, but when pressed by Kay Burley if it would be ok for pub landlords to order takeaways for customers instead, he said: “I am sure that would be the case”.
Kay Burley then continued to follow up on the topic further, asking: “What if they don’t sell food on the premises, can you order a takeaway?”
Mr Williamson replied: “It’s got to be a substantial meal but pubs have really got to be providing that meal.”
Pushed by the presenter again, questioning: “What if the landlord buys it?”, Mr Williamson replied: “Well if the pub is providing that meal via the landlord I am sure that would be the case.
“But it’s about the pub providing the substantial meal with the alcohol.”
The nature of comments made by the Education Secretary have understandably gone on to generate widespread conversation across social media, even generating comment from Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Advisor.
Sacha Lord branded Mr Williamson’s comments as “helpful, but ridiculous at the same time”.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley herself even seemed to express surprise at the minister’s admission, responding to Mr Williamson saying: “But the landlord could order the takeaway for you, that’s interesting.”
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Incredible misty drone footage shows how Manchester earned its ‘Manctopia’ nickname
Drone footage captured from way above Manchester shows just how quickly the city has grown – and proves that our hometown is well on its way to earning its ‘Manctopia’ nickname.
Cast your mind back just a few years and you’ll remember that Beetham Tower stuck out like a sore thumb, towering many storeys above the next tallest building.
In fact, until just four years ago, the next-tallest building here was City Tower, which was a good 17 storeys shorter than Beetham Tower.
Then along came Renaker with visions for an entirely new skyscraper neighbourhood – Deansgate Square.
This group of skyscrapers now completely dominate the Manchester skyline, with the tallest building a massive 65 storeys tall.
South Tower is not only the tallest building in Greater Manchester, it’s also the 10th tallest in the entire UK, and the biggest outside of London.
It’s all led to Manchester being coined ‘Manctopia’, the name of a BBC documentary that followed property developers Capital & Centric as they redevelop buildings around the region.
One local photographer has managed to capture the unbelievable scale of our new, ultra-modern city skyline, with drone footage soaring among the skyscrapers.
Known on Instagram as @lef_tsotour, they shared a video taken on a misty Manchester morning.
It captures both Deansgate Square, with sun glinting off the many windows of the towers, and the now-dwarfed Beetham Tower.
You can also see the railway lines snaking through the city centre, cars nipping around the ring road, and the comparatively small apartment blocks around Castlefield.
Commenting on the video, one person said: “This is mint.”
Another wrote: “Fricken love this!!!!”
Featured image: @lef_tsotour
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.