Hospitality owners across the borough are speaking out after the Government doubled the amount of support cash available to closed businesses, after Bolton’s own hospitality lockdown.

Bars, restaurants and pubs were closed in the town for three weeks in September, being limited to take away only.

A local restrictions support grant worth £1,000 for businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 or £1,500 for those worth over that threshold, was made available for Bolton venues closed for three weeks.

But on Monday, it was announced that hospitality businesses facing closure can now receive a grant for up to £3,000. It has not been confirmed whether Bolton businesses can apply retrospectively for this increased grant.

Rebecca Brayshaw, the owner of Little Bolton Town Hall on St George’s Street, says she's 'confused' by the changes.

She said: “Obviously anybody working in hospitality is pleased with any kind of financial support. But the biggest issue is having definite parameters when it comes to the funding. What I don’t understand is that £3,000 was not available when Bolton closed down first.

“Many businesses are facing hardship because the grants we were offered were not enough. What I am struggling with is the lack of communication surrounding it, why weren’t we offered the same amount of money?"

Bolton has now been placed in 'tier two' - meaning pubs and restaurants can stay open. But Rebecca says the new isn't all positive.

“It’s not a relief at all to find out we are in tier two. Yes I’m receiving lovely messages from customers but tier two is still devastating, it means we can only have a single household inside. Unless you can afford to have warm, covered outdoor seating in the winter it’s just impossible to have as many customers.

“The fact is you have double the numbers of staff for table, but you’re not getting enough customers. It’s a very confusing and worrying time, I did not wake up the day after the announcement and think everything’s hunky dory.

“The last two weekends we have been open have been decent, but a lot of people are still wary about eating out, many of them are unsure of the rules."

The owner of Thyme Deli in Horwich shares similar concerns.

Amanda Biggs said: “Bolton hospitality businesses were essentially already in tier three from September into October, so I am pleased that we have not been put back in there.

“However the rules in tier two state that households cannot mix indoors in any setting. So while hospitality businesses can remain open, this will severely affect our customer numbers and no support is being offered to help us to cope with that.

“As we move into what should be the busiest time of the year for us, things feel very uncertain. Customers are confused with the ever-changing rules and hospitality businesses are trying to carry on whilst our livelihoods are being torn apart.

“The £1000 grant was for three weeks so it is less than £300 per week after tax. This does not nearly cover the lost revenue let alone the furloughed staff costs."

“It feels like the businesses in Bolton were being used as a test case before they rolled out a nationwide tier structure.

“With that in mind I think that affected Bolton businesses should be allowed to apply for the increased grant retrospectively though there has been no mention of this.”

Bolton Council have been contacted for comment.