RESTAURANT owners and managers in the Bradford district had a mixed reaction to yesterday’s announcement of the government’s financial package of support measures for businesses in Tier 2 restrictions.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak laid out the new financial support being given to businesses, which included grants up to £2,000 for businesses in Tier 2 areas, more help to pay employee's wages and a reduction in the number of hours they are required to work, and more money to support the self-employed.

“I think the government is trying to pull the wool over our eyes,” said Saleem Akhtar, owner of Jinnah’s Restaurant in Bradford city centre. “The original furlough scheme worked out best for us.”

Mr Akhtar said the monthly £2,000 grant to businesses in Tier 2 is “like giving peanuts to an elephant”.

“It wouldn’t cover our rent or all of the other essential bills we have. It’s very low and unfair.

“The hospitality industry employs a lot of people and we got targeted straight away.

“We lost one whole sitting, which is 25 per cent of our business, when they introduced the 10pm closure.

“They should lock everybody down for two weeks and be done with it.

“I’ve been a businessman for 35 years and I’ve never known it as bad as it is at the moment.

“The government needs to pull its socks up and support the hospitality industry. We are suffering in a big way.”

Faz Hussain, manager of Shimla Spice, which has restaurants in Keighley and Shipley, said: “There are so many new guidelines coming in all the time, nobody knows what’s going on.

“We’re coping well but these new measures will definitely help us. It’ll allow us to keep our staff on. Our staff numbers have managed to stay the same throughout the pandemic.

“Anything that helps the hospitality industry and allows them to keep their staff working is a good thing. This is their livelihood.”