St Albans MP leads rally against government curfew for pubs

Daisy Cooper MP said the pub and hospitality sector had been dealt a series of devastating blows whi

Daisy Cooper MP said the pub and hospitality sector had been dealt a series of devastating blows while it was already facing an existential crisis." - Credit: HM Government

St Albans MP and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats Daisy Cooper has written an open letter to Business Secretary Alok Sharma in a bid to save the hospitality sector.

This comes after the government imposed a 10pm curfew on pubs, bars and restaurants last week in an attempt to curb the rising cases of COVID-19.

In the letter, Daisy said that the pub and hospitality sector had “been dealt a series of devastating blows” while it was “already facing an existential crisis”, due to recent and constant changes to business rates. She explained that recent restrictions have come as a “further obstacle to recovery”, with no evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies that implemented legislation will be effective.

In light of the lack of presented evidence, she is further calling for the medical, scientific and behavioural grounds behind the decision to be published to verify the imposition of a 10pm closure time, or otherwise reverse the decision.

In an appeal to Mr Sharma, Daisy’s letter sets forward the urgent request for a package of support for the hospitality industry to be set up. Proposed reinforcements include extending the furlough scheme for businesses that must temporarily close, widening the current five per cent VAT rate to include all hospitality sales, and to extend the business rates exemption beyond April 2021.

“Without reconsideration of all the effects of such a closure, the future of our pub and hospitality industries are at risk”, she said.

A band of 24 other MPs nationwide joined Daisy in signing the letter in a bid to save the hospitality sector, including Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey and Bedford’s Mohammad Yasin MP.

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Sharing the letter on Twitter, Daisy addressed the further impact recent government guidelines are having, highlighting the crowding of UK streets after hospitality venues shut.

She added: “Industry experts are even warning of the possibility that this could have the unintended consequence of encouraging people to gather in less safe environments, with none of the professionally applied Covid-secure measures that are put in place by venues.”

This comes after Daisy’s continued support of St Albans pubs throughout the coronavirus crisis, putting pressure on the government to provide more assistance.