Pub bosses in the North East have dismissed a £1,000 promise from Prime Minister to establishments unable to open under England’s new restrictions as “a drop in the ocean” that will do little to save businesses.

Under Tier 2, pubs and restaurants can only serve alcohol alongside a “substantial meal”, while in Tier 3, which the North East will go into this week, venues are restricted to offering only takeaway and delivery services.

The Prime Minister announced the one-off payment for establishments which are unable to offer food – so-called “wet” pubs. But the British Beer & Pub Association said that the sum was “nowhere near enough to stave off thousands of pub closures” while UKHospitality warned that 90% of venues would be unviable by the new year as a result of the tiers.

Mr Johnson unveiled the payment as he attempted to get legislation on the tiering arrangement through Parliament.

But local pub and restaurant owners have mostly reacted with disappointment.

Ollie Vaulkhard, director of Vaulkhard Leisure which owns Bar Luga venues in Newcastle, Gosforth and Morpeth amongst other venues, said his business had to pay £30,000 a month in PAYE contributions, even while keeping his staff on furlough, and that £1,000 would likely only cover a weekly electricity bill.

He said: “It is costing me £1,000 a day in PAYE payments - so to say that this one-off payment misses the point is a total understatement.”

Debrah Dhugga, chief operations officer at Apartment Group, which owns As You Like It and a string of Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham and Northumberland leisure venues, said: “While all sectors of the world’s economy are affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the hotel, leisure, nightlife and hospitality industries have been hit particularly hard.

“It is almost an embarrassment to be offered £1,000 during our busiest trading month.

“The majority of the hospitality industry had measures, including steps to reduce social contact with bars, restaurants, hotels going the extra mile. I am at a loss at what more as an industry we can do. All we ask is give us a chance.”

Dave Stone, director at Greenan Blueaye Ltd, which owns Wylam Brewery, By The River Brew Co, Town Wall and The Bridge Tavern, said the one-off payment would not stretch far.

He said: “Whilst any support offered is not to be sniffed at, in real terms £1,000 is a drop in the ocean when taking into consideration the loss of earnings and costs of remaining closed during what is the busiest trading month of the year. In essence it’s £1,000 less each pub will lose but the loses incurred will be many many times higher than that amount.”

The Chronicle and Journal have launched our Save Our Scene campaign calling for the Government to provide the support needed to support businesses in the sector.

Groups representing city centre businesses around the country have called for one-off grant of up to £15,000 to go to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in Tier 2 and 3 with a rateable value of up to and including £150,000, and for firms to get a business rates holiday next year.

Adrian Waddell, chief executive of NE1, said: “Fixed costs like rent, insurance and service agreements don’t go away and I think many publicans with consider that £1,000 is derisory.

“We know hospitality businesses are suffering and yesterday along with BIDs across the country, NE1 called for a package of support for the sector including a one-off payment of £15,000 to help businesses in Tier 2 and 3 manage their way through these restrictions – the Prime Minister is £14,000 short in his offer!”