The boss of a family-run pub group has joined calls for Rishi Sunak to slash beer duty ahead of the budget announcement on Wednesday.

Kirsty Ridge, managing director of Lakeland Inns, said the hospitality industry has ‘taken a relentless battering’ during the pandemic. With a roadmap out of lockdown now in place and provisional dates for the reopening of pubs announced, a group of MPs have called for further measures to support the industry.

Kirsty, who has five pubs across Cumbria in her portfolio, said: “Our industry has been profoundly affected by the pandemic.

"For the vast majority of the last 12 months, our pubs have either been closed, or open but operating under restrictions.

"The hospitality industry has taken a relentless battering, to the degree that many pubs will never open their doors again.

"In many cases we lie at the heart of communities.

"Pubs are places to meet, places of friendship and places of happiness.

"Every measure that can be taken to help us reopen, provide jobs and contribute to the economy is welcome and I support the call for the chancellor to consider a reduction in beer duty.”

A cut in the duty would help pubs which have suffered massively as a result of coronavirus lockdowns, the group of 68 Conservative MPs argued.

They have written to Mr Sunak warning that the 'devastating' consequences of the pandemic have put pubs and breweries at risk.

In the letter – co-ordinated by North West Durham MP Richard Holden – the MPs called for a 'significant cut in beer duty over the course of this Parliament', warning that some pubs could be lost for good.