Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser is launching a legal battle over plans to open non-essential shops before indoor hospitality venues.
Sacha Lord, who also organises the Parklife festival, is involved in the bid alongside Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns and a former director of Pizza Express.
The pair are calling for a judicial review into the plans.
Under the roadmap proposals to end lockdown, the Prime Minister has said non-essential retail will not open before April 12, with indoor hospitality venues not scheduled to re-open until at least May 17.
In a letter submitted to the Government’s legal department, they claim that hospitality venues are safer than non-essential retail, and that they are important for communities and mental health.
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They also say there is ‘no evidence or justification for the prioritisation’ of retail over hospitality.
The plans could also have a ‘potentially indirectly discriminatory effect’ on young people and those from BAME backgrounds working in hospitality, the pair claim.
On Twitter, Mr Lord said: “We SHOULD be able to open indoors, with measures in place, at the same time as non essential retail.
“I’d go further to say it’s even safer.”
Mr Osmond added: “I believe we can show that discrimination and unsubstantiated beliefs, rather than facts, science and evidence, lie at the heart of much of the Government’s approach to hospitality, and these wrongs need to be righted.
“This legal case will give a fighting chance to over three million people who work in hospitality, to the tens of thousands of businesses, suppliers, landlords and contractors – large and small – forced into bankruptcy, and to millions of our loyal customers who have been deprived of the human social interaction they experience in our premises.
“We won’t ever be able to repair our health, recover our social lives or rebuild our economy if we allow our Government to lock us up and shut down the economy on the basis of such flawed logic, little justification or evidence.
“Our democracy should be better than this and on behalf of all those who have been affected by Government measures, and those of us who cherish British democracy and freedom, I hope our case can open up a chink of light at the end of this very dark chapter, so that we can – as the Prime Minister said – reclaim our lives and freedoms once and for all.”