The Government’s bailout package for the hospitality sector has been branded a “con” that will fail to prevent thousands of pubs and restaurants going bust.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under pressure to do more for firms in local lockdown areas which won’t qualify for the support.
Businesses that are required to shut for “a significant period of time” qualify for a grant of up to £1,500 every three weeks under the Treasury scheme.
But few hospitality firms have been instructed by the Government to close, meaning the majority are not eligible for the support.
Firms still under national lockdown rules, including nightclubs, don’t qualify for the extra cash.
Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell said Mr Sunak’s plan is “essentially a con”.
She added it is the “worst of all worlds for businesses in distress, as so few would qualify despite being under huge pressure”.
Hospitality groups warn over 500,000 jobs will be lost in weeks unless they get more financial support.
Fiona Hornsby, who runs two pubs in Liverpool, said the lack of Government help is in contrast to what happened at the start of the pandemic.
She said: “This time we aren’t going to get anything.”
Nightclub boss Aaron Mellor said the 10pm curfew had been “catastrophic” for his business.
He is the founder of Tokyo Industries, which has 45 venues across the UK.
But only four are open as the majority are clubs or late-night bars.
The Manchester-based businessman said: “I’ve put my entire life into this and it feels as though it has been ripped from me through no fault of my own.”
The Treasury said: “We’ve supported the hospitality sector from the start of the outbreak, protecting millions of jobs through initiatives such as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, VAT cuts, business rates holidays and cash grants of up to £25,000.
“Our support for business continues to reach millions of firms, and we stand ready to do more as necessary.”
Police and councils are to get £60million to fund overtime and employ more “Covid marshals” to enforce coronavirus laws.