Simon Jupp: “Once again, our hospitality sector and high street shops are struggling”

This is an example of “crocodile tears”. Simon Jupp is part of the problem rather than the solution. Here is a review of the evidence.

(See his weekly press column and accompanying photo after Owl’s comments.)

The Vote Against

Only last week, Simon Jupp MP abstained in a parliamentary vote on the retrospective extension of mandatory face coverings and voted with the 100 odd rebels against the introduction of covid passes or proof of negative lateral flow tests to enter large venues.

These were designed to reduce the spread of Omicron: helping to save lives; reduce the demands on our hard pressed health services, and protect the economy. So why fail to support them?

The consequences of rebellion in a national crisis

By siding with the rebels on what many of us, including HM Opposition, believe to be a national imperative. Simon’s indulgence has created a “lame duck” Prime Minister at a critical time.

These political games have caused a collapse in public confidence. As a result the public have taken their own action. BBC Spotlight last night reported a 60% reduction in the last week in footfall in Devon’s High Street.

But it gets worse. The core of this rebel group is driven by a right wing libertarian ideology which includes a demand for a low tax economy. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (and wannabe contender for the throne), Rishi Sunak caught at this critical time away from his desk in California, has consequently, failed to act swiftly and decisively for fear of upsetting them (and his chances). 

Economic support in context

The one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises belatedly offered to compensate businesses for the collapse of Christmas bookings in the hospitality sector doesn’t seem to include the support chain.

This largesse needs to be seen in the context of day to day Downing Street expenditure. £6K looks insignificant compared to the guesstimated £200K cost to redecorate the Johnson’s flat. Though it’s probably a bit more than sum spent on the series of “no rules were broken” “Secret Santa Christmas Gatherings” and similar “wine and Stilton” events held in the past year.

Put your money where your mouth is

Readers may recall last September: “This week’s PR disaster, Simon Jupp Doomed by his choice”. When Simon was pictured banging the drum for the hospitality sector alongside “yesterday’s man” Robert Jenrick and a couple of empty “Doom Bar” pints.

His pint of choice this time is “Old Speckled Hen”. Excellent Beer, but brewed in Oxfordshire.

Supporting local business means just that Simon. Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and support, a Devon beer?

“Relax with an Otter”.

“Old Speckled Hen” image used in the Exmouth Journal

Weekly column: Impact of Covid on the hospitality industry

The festivities are looming and there are a few things I would like to share with you as we head towards Christmas.

Once again, our hospitality sector and high street shops are struggling as we continue to get to grips with Omicron, the latest Covid variant.

Footfall is down and from talking to those who run pubs and restaurants, many bookings have been cancelled or people are simply not even bothering to turn up for their table. Casual staff have had their shifts cut, just before Christmas. Clearly, many are deciding to reduce their socialising to limit the risk of catching or spreading this virus. Many businesses have invested in their premises to improve ventilation to keep us safe.

We need buoyant, sustainable, and successful high streets and hospitality businesses in East Devon as both are vital to the local economy. I want you to know that I am once again lobbying the Treasury to consider bespoke financial support for those businesses affected by this significant drop in custom because of the latest developments.

I would also like to thank the many people we rely on at this time of the year who don’t get a festive break. The emergency services, NHS staff, carers, the RNLI, those working in retail or volunteering for a charity and many, many others. Thank you for doing what you do and for the sacrifices you make every day. Christmas can be a challenging time for some, and we should all be grateful for those who go above and beyond to make it safe, bearable and a little less lonely for many.

Again, I am not sending any Christmas cards this year. I have donated the cost of sending cards across the constituency to support local charities in East Devon. This year, I have donated to Sidmouth Independent Lifeboat, Budleigh Lions and Exmouth-based charity Rock2Recovery, which was setup by former Royal Marine Commandos to support veterans in our community.

Despite the current challenges we are all facing, may I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Since this column was submitted, additional support has been provided to the hospitality and leisure sectors from the Chancellor. This column first appeared in the Exmouth Journal on Wednesday 22nd December 2021 and in the Sidmouth Herald and Midweek Herald later in the week.