Public Health

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 1st December 2020.

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Photo of Mike Amesbury Mike Amesbury Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government) 4:36 pm, 1st December 2020

Yesterday, I received an email from Alison, who runs the Bears Paw pub in the Frodsham part of my constituency, the town where I live. That historical pub is at the heart of the community. The family and staff work hard. It has great food, a good atmosphere—in usual times—and very good beer. It is a great place to go to watch the football.

Like many pubs in my constituency, the Bears Paw has introduced every covid-secure measure under the sun to keep customers, staff and, importantly, the community safe. Those at the pub have sacrificed so much for the greater good. They have given to and supported local food banks, and helped schoolchildren when they needed support with school lunches. Collectively, they have done their bit to help curtail the spread of the virus. Infections and, I hope, death rates are now coming down in the Cheshire area. I looked at the figures today, and for Cheshire West and Chester there 100 infections per 100,000. Mr Wragg referred to Stockport, which is at 155 per 100,000—again, progress right across the patch.

As someone who grew up in a pub, I know how much the Christmas trade means to pubs and, importantly, as has been mentioned across the Chamber, to the supply chain, such as breweries. I have Chapter Brewing on the edge of my constituency. I have lost touch with how many variations of business support packages have been shaped so far, always at the last minute, which makes life and business planning incredibly difficult in our communities up and down the country. If our hospitality sector is to survive, including small breweries such as Chapter, they need more support in tier 2 and tier 3 areas. Scotch eggs, plates of chips and £32.50 a day will not save the day, the week or that lost year.

Along with people on the Opposition Benches, and others, I cannot support the measures before the House. I hope that that acts as a clarion call from constituencies right across the land. We need more targeted support for our communities, and we certainly need—I keep asking for this—test and trace facilities in our local authorities to get things working, and quickly.