A LOCAL MP has backed a nationwide campaign which aims to save Britain's pubs, after fears many will go permanently out of business unless they can trade by Easter.

South Cumbrian MP, Tim Farron, has added his support to the Countryside Alliance led #UnlockInn campaign, after a recent survey of pub landlords found that a staggering six in ten believe they will go out of business if lockdown restrictions are not sufficiently lifted until the summer.

The survey also revealed that 92% of landlords want to scrap the rule that customers must order a substantial meal to be allowed to buy a drink when pubs reopen, with respondents indicating that the requirement had an overall adverse effect on customer footfall.

Landlords also revealed that the bulk had spent staggering sums- between £1,000-5,000- on installing Covid-19 features, including outdoor heaters, hand sanitising stations and personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff.

Despite this, pubs are still not permitted to serve takeaway alcoholic beverages.

The campaign is urging the Government to provide struggling businesses with increased financial support to ensure their future survival and has published five asks, which it hopes the prime minister will consider when outlining the hotly anticipated roadmap for leaving lockdown.

1.    Allow pubs to serve alcohol with takeaways as soon as possible.

2.    Scrap the ‘substantial meal’ requirement, when pubs open again.

3.    If pubs are forced to remain closed into the summer months, provide struggling businesses with increased financial support.

4.    Offer a practical road map for pubs and the hospitality industry at large to help them prepare for when they can resume trading again.

5.    Extend VAT at 5%, while ensuring rates are cut by 50 percent for the same length of time.

Mr Farron said: “I’m proud to support the Countryside Alliance’s #UnlockInn campaign. In many towns and villages across Cumbria the pub is the hub of community life.

“But the future of so many of our local pubs are in serious doubt, hit by a perfect storm of more restrictions and less financial support.

“The Government must act urgently to support our pubs or risk many of them calling time for good.”

The campaign has already received thousands of patrons after it was rolled out on social media and enables the public to lobby their local MP with a letter asking them to allow pubs to start trading again.

Ed Rowlandson, a spokesman for the Countryside Alliance added: “Among the societal benefits, the pub trade is a very important employer in many fragile, local economies.

“These five asks are essential if we are to see these fine institutions standing for future generations to enjoy.”

 You can support the #UnlockInn - Save the Great British Pub by clicking here