Lockdown is costing Greene King every pub on average of £4,500 every week, which equates to £7m a week for its managed pub estate, CEO Nick Mackenzie has said.

In the last year, Mackenzie said Greene King had written off £16m of stock, with thousands of pints of beer currently in pub cellars waiting to be disposed of.

Writing in The Telegraph, the pub boss urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide sector-specific support, and avoid a cliff-edge by withdrawing measures too suddenly.

He said he “breathed a sigh of relief” when the government announced the reopening roadmap, despite being treated differently to non-essential retail.

But with the dates still weeks and months away, he warned: “I cannot stress enough how precarious a position the entire sector is in right now. I think I speak for the industry when I say that the Chancellor’s Budget this week has never been more important.”

Mackenzie said the latest round of grants were welcome, but will not be sufficient to cover costs for many.

Larger businesses could miss out on tens of millions of pounds’ worth of support due to state aid caps, he said.

He wrote: “So, this is a critical moment for the sector. The Prime Minister has set out his plan on how he wants us to reopen and when. It is now time for the Chancellor to step up and provide the financial support needed to ensure we can survive and then thrive again.”

Mackenzie called for the extension of the business rates holiday and VAT cut for another year, to include alcohol, an extension of the furlough scheme to June, and to reinstate the jobs retention bonus, to help the sector kickstart the UK economy and support jobs.

He added: “Whilst we are hopeful of a brilliant summer, the fact remains that it isn’t going to be an immediate return to normality for pubs and recovery of the sector will take much more than a few months of strong trading.

“That’s why it’s critical that we don’t face a cliff edge in financial support. The sad fact is, without this level of support from the government, we’re going to see more pub closures over the coming weeks as small and independent businesses struggle to bridge the gap between now and reopening fully in June.

“We need the Chancellor to give the support the industry requires to get us through to that day.”