The boss of pub giant Wetherspoon has accused the Government of causing “massive” economic damage over the changing restrictions for his industry.

Company chairman Tim Martin called for measures to keep pubs in business as they struggle to cope with the worsening virus crisis.

Leading business groups also stressed the need for new financial support amid warnings firms are facing continued staff shortages and plummeting consumer confidence.

Mr Martin told the PA news agency: “The Government has caused massive and unnecessary economic damage with a constantly changing series of restrictions for pubs which have no medical basis – curfews, a substantial meal with a pint, table service only (unlike shops) and so on.

“If it wants to keep pubs in business – Wetherspoon alone paid one pound in every thousand of tax collected by the Government in 2019 (three quarters of a billion pounds) – it should eliminate VAT on pub food, which it already does for supermarkets, and make that permanent.

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