Government

High Court sets date for gov’s hospitality restrictions evidence

Sacha Lord and Hugh Osmond have claimed that the government has failed to provide ‘evidence’ for delaying the reopening of indoor hospitality

The government reportedly has until 16 April to file evidence on why indoor hospitality cannot open until 17 May, following a High Court judge ruling.

According to Sky News, permission for the case to go to judicial review, and in turn be expedited, will also be made on the week commencing 19 April.

Judge Justice Eady said, via the publication: “I accept that there is a need to expedite consideration of this matter if the challenge is not to be rendered academic by passage of time.”

The legal challenge has been led by Manchester’s night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, and Hugh Odmond, founder of Punch Taverns and former Pizza Express director.

The pair claimed that the government has failed to provide evidence for delaying the reopening of indoor hospitality.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock had until 10am on 6 April to respond to the challenge, and supposedly argued that there was “no proper basis for expedition”, claiming that the legal challenge was not launched until a week after the roadmap to recovery had been laid out.

In a Tweet, Lord called it a “poor stalling tactic”, adding that “the judge ruled against them and confirmed our case will be expedited”.

Lord told Sky News: “The government has continuously failed to introduce any new evidence as to why indoor hospitality cannot open on 12 April alongside non-essential retail, or any justification for their prioritisation of retail over hospitality.

“These same operators have spent millions of pounds creating Covid-19 secure environments and we firmly believe these regulated venues have much safer measures in place than most retail stores.”

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