Hospitality businesses face “ruin” and thousands could lose their jobs unless the government steps in to help the industry, our MP has warned as comments by chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty put the country into “effective lockdown”, Winchester MP Steve Brine said.
He spoke during an urgent question in the House of Commons, after Professor Whitty, appearing next to Boris Johnson at a Downing Street news conference, urged people: “Don’t mix with people you don’t have to.”
Prof Whitty said people should “prioritise” the social events that mattered to them. Mr Brine said the adviser's answers to a question from the BBC “changed government policy and put this country, certainly hospitality – and Winchester’s hospitality bears that out in what I’m hearing – into effective lockdown”.
He said to the minister: “So can I ask, yes or no, is what Professor Whitty said last night now the policy of this government, that we should socialise carefully?
“What in practical legal terms does that mean? And on support, because advisers are now running the show – I’ll bet none of them run businesses facing complete ruin as the result of what was said last night – the Treasury is going to have to do more because otherwise we risk ruining and wasting the amazing support that Her Majesty’s Treasury gave last year.”
He added: “We’re going to have to do more or we’re going to face ruin and thousands of people are going to lose their jobs.”
Treasury minister John Glen replied: "I’ve been very clear we should get boosted, encourage our constituents to get boosted, take the lateral flow test, wear masks and engage in normal activity as far as we can. Of course, there won’t be a legal definition of what every individual should do on an individual basis. Most people would use common sense and that’s really important."
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