'Missing in action!' Sunak slammed for visiting California as Brits face Christmas chaos

RISHI SUNAK has been slammed by a trade union chief after the Chancellor was found to have made an official visit to California as Brits come to grips with new advice on how to tackle COVID-19.

Rishi Sunak will ‘make himself available’ to be PM says expert

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Rishi Sunak, 41, faced calls from a prominent trade union chief to unveil measures to support workers and firms in the hospitality, leisure and art sectors after it was revealed he was in California. Pubs, restaurants and theatres across England are among the venues worst hit by Christmas mass cancellations after Boris Johnson, 57, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, 55, and the NHS’ medical director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani, 41, told Brits to limit their social contact.

During yesterday’s press conference, Professor Whitty urged people not to “mix with people you don’t have to”.

His comments came after the UK recorded a record-breaking 78,610 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made a four-day trip to the Golden State on a work visit.

America’s largest state holds a special place for the Richmond (Yorkshire) MP as he lived with his wife Akshata in California.

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'Missing in action!' Sunak slammed for visiting California as Brits face Christmas chaos

‘Missing in action!’ Sunak slammed for visiting California as Brits face Christmas chaos (Image: Getty)

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (pictured) displaying 'Eat Out to Help Out'

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (pictured) displaying ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ (Image: Getty)

The Mirror also reports the Sunaks own a holiday home in Santa Monica.

Speaking about Mr Sunak’s visit to the Golden State, the Chancellor’s spokesperson said: “It is a work trip where he is conducting Government business and has a packed schedule of meetings and round tables.”

Trade Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady, 62, responded to Sunak’s transatlantic trip by saying: “The Chancellor is missing in action.”

Ms O’Grady, who campaigned against Mr Sunak for Britain to remain in the European Union back in 2016, added: “The Chancellor should be stood next to the PM, announcing help to pay wages, save jobs and stop businesses going to the wall.

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Trade Union Congress general secretary Frances O'Grady

Trade Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady (Image: Getty)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: Getty)

“He should introduce a permanent short-time working scheme – like furlough – and provide additional support for hard-hit sectors like travel, hospitality, retail and the arts.

“Otherwise thousands of workers will face a miserable Christmas.”

The Confederation of British Industry, British Chambers of Commerce and UK Hospitality have also called on Whitehall to step in to provide business with further support.

UK Hospitality even asked for the Government to extend the discounted 12.5 percent VAT rate beyond March 2022 and for business rates due in the first quarter of next year to be pushed back.

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England's Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty

England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty (Image: Getty)

NHS' medical director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani

NHS’ medical director of primary care Dr Nikki Kanani (Image: Getty)

The news comes as the BBC reports the hospitality sector estimates takings in December will dip by around 40 percent.

Labour’s Shadow Financial Secretary James Murray, 38, also said: “The Chancellor will have known for days that new guidance may come into place, but he still chose to leave our country’s businesses and workers to fend for themselves.”

The Ealing North MP added: “It’s unbelievable that instead of putting British businesses first that he’s out of the country.”

The Treasury has provided the struggling hospitality sector with Government grants, a reduction in business rates and the furlough scheme when the coronavirus crisis took hold last year.

Roy Walsh

Roy Walsh

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