A PUBLICAN has written to the Prime Minister asking for more help to protect an already vulnerable trade during the coronavirus crisis.

Sean Hornby, landlord of The Queens Hotel in Bradley Fold, said he welcomed the Government’s moves to remove the burden of business rates for 12 months, but said more needed to be done now and in the future to protect the vital role of traditional pubs in the community.

Mr Hornby, who is also a councillor, said: “I wrote to the Prime Minister’s to thank him for the initial help in removing the business rates for 12 months, which is welcome, but also to point out that businesses in general, not just the pub trade will suffer immensely over the next few month and some may not survive.”

The landlord is calling for greater guarantees that businesses will not be penalised because of Government measures during the pandemic.

This includes legislation to prevent utility companies cutting off supplies and arrangements to pay bill over a longer period of time.

And he urged the Government to help the industry after the current crisis.

Mr Hornby said: “In this industry you are just surviving, there are some weeks where you do not get paid, after covering wages and costs.

“I am asking for a fairer assessment of business rates ­— it is only the licensing trade and petrol stations where business rates are based on historical turnover.

“Turnover is not what it was and that is for a number of reasons, supermarkets can sell alcohol cheaper.”

Mr Hornby said: “I would ask that this Government goes as far as it possibly can to support the traditional pub, something which for too long has been neglected by successive governments of all political parties.

"I would also ask that a working party be set up to include representation from the licensing trade both management, breweries and the frontline to see how we make the public house fit for purpose to survive the current situation and to have a fair crack of the whip and given long term relief in order that the traditional British pub thrives and the decline is reduced."