IN 2019, the UK hospitality industry – pubs, clubs, hotels, restaurants – turned over £130bn. As we near the end of the second lockdown, the most positive estimate is that in 2020, it will turn over £65bn or probably less, as so much of the country, like the North-East, is going to be covered by Tier 3 status that Christmas is likely to be cancelled.

Even if restrictions are eased on December 16 – and that is a very big if – pubs are going to struggle to get organised, and people are going to be reluctant to go out, to make the festive season really lucrative.

The sector does seem to have been hit extremely hard by the restrictions without full explanation. How can a hairdresser reopen and a pub not?

Many venues are genuine small businesses. They’ve spent on Covid-security, and they’ve diversified, and they feel kicked in the teeth. Already, 500,000 jobs in the hospitality sector have been lost, and many more hostelries are not going to make through. As well as the people who lose out, our communities – which have lost everything from churches to banks – will be the poorer. The Government must do all it can to help out hospitality.