AN MP has said that the financial response from the Chancellor to coronavirus does not match the size of the problem that York is facing - adding that the city needs a “real deal, not a meal deal”.

Today (Wednesday) Rishi Sunak unveiled an ‘eat out to help out’ package of measures including dropping VAT to five per cent and giving diners up to £10 each off to eat out at restaurants to help businesses recover from the pandemic.

But York Central MP Rachael Maskell said some sectors key to York’s economy were not mentioned in the statement and by the time the Government addresses the concerns, thousands of jobs could be lost.

Her comments were echoed by Cllr Andrew Waller who said the statement was a “missed opportunity” for businesses still unable to reopen.

However, Conservative MP for York Outer, Julian Sturdy, said that more than a thousand enterprises in York will benefit from the announcement.

He said: “I am delighted the Chancellor has listened by cutting VAT from 20 to just five per cent for food and drink, accommodation and attractions.

"This can make a real difference in saving jobs and supporting businesses in our city and could benefit some 1,175 enterprises across York."

He added: "And, giving £1,000 to employers who retain their furloughed employees through to January can also ensure many of the 24,000 York residents placed on furlough have jobs to come back to.”

Labour MP Ms Maskell said: “While some elements of his proposals are to be welcome, it was a mixed picture as many parts of the sector are forgotten in his plan.

“We need an economic strategy that benefits everyone, and while a meal deal voucher might have sounded attractive, we needed a real deal to put our economy on a strong footing for the future and vitally save jobs.

“I fear that we will experience more economic pain here in York unless more action is taken, but time is running out.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, York's executive member for the economy, said: “For some businesses, this will be a help, but for others whom I have spoken with, who are still waiting for a date to be able to re-open, and haven’t been able to access the Government grant schemes, it is a missed opportunity.”