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Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:33 am on 25th November 2020.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party, The Prime Minister 11:33 am, 25th November 2020

My hon. Friend is completely right about the need to support local business, particularly in the hospitality sector. He should know that, in addition to the £3,000 grant for businesses that are forced to close, we have another grant of £2,100 a month for businesses that are in the hospitality and accommodation sector. That is on top of the support that we have given via furlough, obviously, and via business rates and the cuts in VAT, which were intended to support the hospitality sector as well. I am keenly aware of how difficult it is for those pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels that will face a tough time in the tiers as we come out next week. We will do our level best to support them. I should say that we are also giving £1.1 billion to local councils to help them support businesses that are facing difficulties.

I just want to say one thing to the House. As we come out of the lockdown, the way forward is not just through the vaccine, which we hope we will be able to start rolling out in the course of the next few weeks and months, but through the prospect of mass community testing. I pay tribute to the people of Liverpool, who have really stepped up in huge numbers. Hundreds of thousands of people in Liverpool have been tested and that seems to have helped to drive the virus down in Liverpool. We want to see that type of collective action—stepping up to squeeze the disease—happening across the country. That, I think, is a real way forward that will enable the hospitality, accommodation and hotel sector to come out of the restrictive measures quicker than has been currently and recently possible. We have two new very important scientific developments—