Chairman of popular pub-restaurant group blasts Matt Hancock over flawed Covid-19 figures

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Oakman Inns runs 28 pub-restaurants across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and beyond

The chairman of Oakman Inns is challenging Matt Hancock to prove that the spike in England's cases emanates from pubs and restaurants.

Peter Borg-Neal, whose company Oakman Inns owns 28 pubs across Southern England and the Midlands, believes the situation needs to come under full Parliamentary scrutiny.

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Oakman Inns, like many other responsible hospitality businesses has massively invested already-stretched funds into creating safe environments in line with Government advice and local and national legal requirements.

Peter Borg-Neal, CEO Oakman InnsPeter Borg-Neal, CEO Oakman Inns
Peter Borg-Neal, CEO Oakman Inns

The restaurants have continued to reinvent themselves so that that their staff can work safely and their customers can come and eat, drink and socialise in seated only settings safely.

Following the leaked Government threats of curfews and lockdowns, Mr Borg-Neal, is challenging Matt Hancock to prove that the spike in England’s case increase emanates from pubs and restaurants.

Mr Borg-Neal said: "This is despite being repeatedly advised by his own officials at PHE that all ARI cases in pubs and restaurants are consistently low.

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"Last week, for example, there were less than 34 cases reported across the entire pub and restaurant sector, despite record visits during the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

"The reality is that the highest incidents are in care homes which ludicrously suggests thousands of ‘grannies’ going down to the pub.

"We employ over 1000 people and we are in comparison to many pub companies quite small and the impact of a second lockdown must lead to massive job cuts and a complete end to all capital expenditure and investment.

"We have been stringently complying with the NHS Test & Trace system."

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Pubs and restaurants opened 11 weeks ago and there was no spike in cases – indeed they continued to decline.

What has happened in recent weeks is a return to work and a return to school.

Mr Borg-Neal believes it is vital that Parliament is allowed to scrutinise the inaccuracies and kneejerk generalisations based on little more than ill-founded preconceptions that have led to growing unemployment and a collapsing economy.

He told LBC this morning (Monday): "We have been getting back on our feet, and now we could be smashed back down again is really, really very worrying.

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"If there was great evidence that public health would benefit from pubs and restaurants closing then great, but there is no evidence."



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