Sunak’s £6,000 grants ‘are too little too late’ – as pubs and restaurants face closure

Self-employed march to parliament demanding support

‘WE HAVE responded, I think generously today, the grants that we have outlined, up to £6,000 are comparable to the grants that we provided to hospitality businesses when they were completely closed earlier this year,’ Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak said yesterday.

However, businesses have said that such a paltry sum will keep them going for a couple of days at best.

Yesterday a further 91,743 Covid cases were reported across the UK – the second highest daily total on record.

Sunak announced £1bn in financial support for businesses in the hospitality and leisure industries.

The one-off grants are being made available about 200,000 businesses.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: ‘Workers did not create this pandemic and they must not pay the price for it in wage cuts and ultimately in losing their jobs.

‘It is unacceptable that thousands of young workers face such awful uncertainty – they need to know now that they can pay their rent and that they still have a job. Today’s measures do not guarantee either. It looks like we are in “too little too late territory” here.’

Trade Unions Congress (TUC) General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘The economic support measures announced today are not conditional on employers keeping workers on and covering their wages. And they do nothing to fix the gaping holes in our sick pay system.

‘The government has abandoned hospitality, arts and leisure staff.

‘Millions of workers will go into Christmas worrying for their jobs and anxious about what they will do if asked to self-isolate.

‘The Chancellor must go back to the drawing board. We need a new targeted furlough scheme that covers at least 80 per cent of workers’ wages, and that guarantees that no-one furloughed is paid less than the minimum wage.

‘And we need decent sick pay – paid at the real Living Wage – available to everyone.’

Ellis Barrie, from the Liverpool restaurant Lerpwl, said: ‘Anything is better than nothing – anything that helps plug our losses is a massive boost.

‘But £6,000 is not even a day’s takings in the good times. This will go to our team and we’re grateful, but the government needs to put a nought on the end of it.’