Up to 20,000 hospitality businesses across the UK will be unable to access lockdown grants without changes to State Aid restrictions, sector trade bodies have warned.

In a joint letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak, The British Beer & Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UK Hospitality have urged government to loosen the State Aid cap preventing larger groups claiming support.

The call comes following a change in EU State Aid rules on 13 October meaning severely impacted businesses such as those in hospitality can claim up to €3,000,000 (£2,700,000) in State Aid, up from €800,000 (£720,000).

According to the trade bodies, businesses hit by the UK cap employ around half of the hospitality workforce, making access to cash grants all the more pertinent to protect the jobs of over one million people through the winter.

In a joint statement the trade bodies said: “The Government is hiding behind these EU rules which it has the ability to change. This cannot be the Chancellor’s intention, so he must now take advantage of the changes to State Aid rules to immediately unlock the grants our sector desperately needs.

“If action is not taken by the Government or the Chancellor, thousands of businesses and over one million jobs will be at risk throughout the winter and might not survive to the spring and the economic recovery.”