The hospitality sector is on a “war footing”, and requires an “across the board, fast injection” of capital from government to survive, Carluccio’s CEO Mark Jones has told MCA.

Speaking ahead of the chancellor’s expected announcement of a package of support for the sector this afternoon, Jones said: “There will be no high street at the end of this if the government does not intervene.”

The Carluccio’s boss said despite yesterday’s guidance from the Prime Minister for people to stay away from pubs, bars and restaurants, the brand had kept all its sites open while it waited for further updates.

He said its trading position was rapidly deteriorating, with managers working with fewer staff and reduced opening hours, with evening trade after 8pm virtually non-existent.

Jones said the support measure outlined in the recent Budget were now out of date, and urgent action was needed

He said: “What I hope we’ll see by end of day is a very significant monetary intervention from the government to save the high street, because there will be no high street at the end of this if the government does not intervene.

“Given the high street is supposed to one of the core principles of our industrial policy, the government is going to have to put very significant funds behind that.

“What we’re looking for is the scrapping of rates, working harder with banks to provide working capital, and intervention with tenants and landlords on rental holidays.”

He added: “The most significant thing we need is some kind of wage guarantee for our front-line teams on the living wage.

“France has said that no firms will go bust as a result of coronavirus, and that it will pay a wage guarantee. It’s that kind of across the board, very fast injection of cash that’s going to be needed.

”We are on a war footing. It requires that kind of intervention.”