Pubs could miss out on billions of pounds in income over the Christmas period as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
The warning comes from the Labour Party, which says 93% of England’s pubs are being forced to close from Boxing Day due to the restrictions, and many might never re-open.
Some £2bn in business rates relief has been returned to the government by large retailers such as supermarkets, and Labour says this should be used to help the hospitality industry.
Pubs and bars made £3.8bn in sales in November and December last year but they will struggle to get anywhere near this amount this year under restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.
Under the rules, those in Tiers 3 and 4 can only operate as takeaways and those in Tier 2 can only serve alcohol with food.
Most of the pubs hit by restrictions were getting less help from the government than they were in March, Labour has said.
Lucy Powell MP, shadow minister for business and consumers, said: “Pubs are a vital part of Britain’s high streets. They bring people together and help communities thrive.
“They’ve had the toughest of years as a result of the pandemic and, if the government doesn’t step up and put a proper support plan in place to secure their future, it will be last orders for many.
“Boris Johnson is failing our pubs. His glass half empty approach is a real threat to their future.”
A government spokesperson said: “We understand the pressure pubs and other businesses are under, however the current restrictions are essential so we can control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.
“Businesses can access our unprecedented support package worth £280bn, including the extended furlough scheme, business rates holidays, various loan schemes and VAT deferral in addition to grants of £3,000 a month for businesses required to close.”