Pubs that do not serve food will be given £1,000 in December to help them survive the strictest coronavirus lockdown rules, Boris Johnson has announced.
“Our pubs, our hotels, restaurants, they are in many ways the heart of our communities and part of the fabric of our identity as a country,” the prime minister told MPs on Tuesday.
He said the money for so-called wet pubs was to “recognise how hard they have been hit” by Covid controls during what would typically be their busiest time of year.
Under the tier 2 rules, pubs can only serve alcohol if it is accompanied by a “substantial meal”.
Tier 3 pubs must close their doors and are limited to takeaway only.
In tier 1, pubs can stay open with no requirement to serve food, but only around 1% of England’s population falls under this tier.
MPs will vote on Tuesday evening on whether to approve the government’s new three-tiered approach. It will replace the four-week national lockdown.
The prime minister is facing a significant rebellion from Tory MPs who are opposed to the strictest measures.
And as HuffPost UK revealed, Labour leader Keir Starmer could see as many as 20 of his own MPs ignore orders to abstain and vote against the rules.
Starmer’s decision not to tell his MPs to vote against the measures means the government is expected to win the vote, with the new system coming into force from December 2.
HuffPost UK revealed on Monday chancellor Rishi Sunak had not signed up to plans providing extra financial support for pubs and restaurants before it had been briefed to a newspaper on Sunday evening.
The chancellor was blindsided by government sources telling The Daily Telegraph that more support was on the way, with Monday morning’s front page understood to be the first the Treasury had heard of the plans.
Almost 99% of England’s population into the tough measures of tier 2 and tier 3 when the second national lockdown ends. Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been designated for the lightest tier 1 restrictions.