Manchester MPs have called on the government to avoid closing licensing premises, or risk pushing socialising into private homes.

In a joint letter published yesterday, the five Labour MPs wrote that transmission in hospitality settings “constitutes a very small proportion of infection rates”.

They wrote: “We are concerned that closing all regulated premises will not only lead to gatherings being pushed underground but won’t have a sizeable impact on virus transmission rates. Yet, as you are well aware, it would have a devastating impact on jobs, livelihoods and businesses in our area.”

The letter, signed by Lucy Powell, Mike Kane, Jeff Smith, Afzal Khan and Graham Stringer, added: “We would not support Manchester being put in tier three on this basis.”

Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester city council, said that the authority’s data showed there was “no evidence closing pubs works”. He described the system as being formed in “the Westminster bubble”.

Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “If they continue with this, jobs will be lost, businesses will collapse, the fragile economies of the north will be shattered.”

Andrew Gwynne, the Labour MP for Denton & Reddish, said that closing hospitality would have “a devastating impact”. He pledged to do “all I can” to oppose it, as well as the 10pm curfew that remains in place across England.

“I think both of those things will end up counter-productive,” he said. “There is no evidence I have seen to suggest that responsible eating and drinking in Covid-secure businesses that operate within the law are where the transmission of coronavirus is taking place.

“It’s happening in the home setting and all that will happen in closing restaurants and bars is what we have seen with the 10pm curfew — it drives drinking and social mixing underground. It will destroy businesses and livelihoods — I can’t support that.”

William Wragg, the Tory MP for Hazel Grove, said: “We need to be convinced measures will work because we have been under additional restrictions for some months that don’t appear to have yielded any public health benefit. Either the measures are deficient or people aren’t following them, or there has been a combination of both.”

In Lancashire, all 15 leaders across the region said that they were opposed to the closure of pubs and bars.

In a joint letter they said that only 14% of positive cases in Lancashire were linked to the hospitality sector.

“We would advocate that where pubs, restaurants and other hospitality settings provide a Covid-secure environment, they should remain open,” it said. Closing them would have a “major impact” on a large sector of the independent business community.