Business minister Paul Scully has told pub leaders the sector is an integral part of the nation’s recovery, and that pubs and the wider hospitality sector were top of his agenda.

Speaking at MCA’s Pub Conference yesterday, the minister who oversees hospitality said pubs reopening were a crucial part of the rejuvenation of high streets and communities.

He detailed measures the government was taking to ease staffing and supply chain issues, such as fast tracking the training of HGV drivers.

The Conservative MP also spoke about how a newly formed Hospitality Council would support increased operational resilience for the sector in the event of future shocks.

Addressing pub leaders, Scully said: “You’re not just about employment, you’re important to the country as a whole, to getting towns and cities reopened, and high streets fully functioning.

“We need you, you’re in integral of the recovery, creating jobs, opportunities and wealth, which attract investment in infrastructure, services and education

“You guys are right at the top of my agenda: the recovery of the pub and hospitality in general.”

He spoke about the new hospitality qualifications being brought in, which he said would help ease staffing issues.

HGV testing process meanwhile will make 50,000 more drivers available, he said.

The recently formed Hospitality Council will look to improve relations between tenants and landlords, showcase British pubs internationally, and encourage pubs to embrace digital,

Scully added: “The recovery of pubs is intertwined with the nation’s recovery, and your survival and our survival as an economy is so important

“I think it’s fair to say the general public didn’t realise how much they valued the pub until the pandemic hit.

“We will continue to work the sector to ensure your smooth recovery. And to ensure pubs remain the lifeblood of communities up and down the country.”