THE Government is caught between the devil and the deep blue Tory backbenchers.

The backbenchers want minimal restrictions and maximum personal freedom whereas businesses want clear instructions so they know where they stand and what they should be ordering for the Christmas season.

As a result of this conflict, we are all living in a grey area: nothing is shut down and parties and booze-ups are allowed, and yet, on the other hand, we are advised to work from home and to minimise our social interactions.

For business, particularly the vast hospitality sector, this is creating a devastating uncertainty and loss of trade – and because nothing is compulsorily shut down, venues are unable to claim support from the Government.

With everything half-open, it is going to be very difficult for the Treasury to devise schemes to help companies, and it will be mindful that its previous schemes were fraudulently abused.

However, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has to act. There has to be a way of creating a new rolling furlough scheme to help pubs survive the reduced demand, and a reintroduction of business rates relief.

It may well be expensive, but if Mr Sunak doesn’t help businesses survive the next month or so, he will have wasted all the public money that went on the schemes that have enabled companies to keep going – and keep employing staff – in the last two years.

After “help out to eat out”, we are going to need another Rishi rescue package.