Amendment to the Motion

Part of Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020 - Motion to Approve – in the House of Lords at 12:06 pm on 9th October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bilimoria Lord Bilimoria Crossbench 12:06 pm, 9th October 2020

According to the British Beer and Pub Association, up to 12,000 pubs could close next year, with the loss of 291,000 jobs. This is really serious. Could the Minister please give us the evidence on which the 10 pm curfew is based? We are hearing that the scientific evidence is that less than 5%—in fact, 3.6%—of new infections come from pubs, restaurants and the hospitality sector. This is according to Public Health England data. Could we see the evidence? In the trade, declaring my interest, we are told that only 10% of drinking takes place after 10 pm, so why have this curfew when we could have normal rules? Restaurants, bars and pubs have gone to huge lengths and expense to make themselves Covid-secure.

UKHospitality has said clearly that many outlets have not even opened, thanks to the pandemic, having been shut from March until 4 July. They are doing nowhere near as much trade. Some businesses are 70% down. Some 80% of hospitality businesses are SMEs and many are family businesses. They are in complete distress. One-third of the hospitality industry’s business takes place between Halloween and the new year, so we are coming to a time when they need the most help and to be able to operate as normally as possible. We have to prevent the unemployment. What measures will the Government put in place when almost 30% of the country is in some form of lockdown or restriction? This industry is suffering so much and is so vital, because it will generate one in six new jobs in the recovery and tens of billions in taxes. We must prevent economic scarring in the future.