Omicron UK LIVE: New Covid restrictions announced for Wales with sport to be played with no crowds

Hospitality leader calls for support within next day

The operator of the Real Greek and Franco Manca restaurant chains has urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to announce further support for businesses “in the next 24 hours”.

Fulham Shore chairman David Page claimed new emergency rescue packages are needed regardless of whether the Government will introduce new measures to stop the spread of Covid as there is already a “lockdown by stealth”.

Mr Page, who saw the group’s central London restaurants trade above 2019 levels in November, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Chancellor, Rishi, needs to do something very, very quickly because I am not sure any of the Cabinet understands cashflow. And cashflow is the problem at the moment, of the last week or two and of the next ten days, near London, and near the city centres.

“These businesses have no cashflow, they are paying staff, they have got to pay their suppliers. It’s a bit of a disaster area for smaller businesses over the last two weeks. So, Rishi needs to do something in the next 24 hours, I think.”

When asked whether the Government needs to do something even if no lockdown is announced, Mr Page said: “Absolutely. This is lockdown by stealth and by Government advice to stay away from crowded areas, which may be a very good idea health-wise but it’s ruining a lot of small businesses.”

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