The leader of the Liberal Democrats visited Chesham to hear from businesses about how they have been coping with the challenges of Covid-19.

Ed Davey spoke to businesses on Saturday (March 27) and also visited Chesham Central Mosque.

Mr Davey spoke to Richard Elkington, owner of The Drawingroom, in Francis Yard – a café/restaurant and live music venue – which is due to reopen on April 12, and other businesses including Jamie Boyce, proprietor of Gerry Martin’s Butchers, Dale Chiverton of Pet Essentials, Cliff Davies of InkLink and Mr Mohammad of AAK Dry Cleaners.

He also pulled a pint with pub landlord Trevor How during a whistle-stop visit to The Crown Inn, in nearby Little Missenden, with Mr How telling Mr Davey residents have “really struggled” in the village over the past few months.

Mr How explained that the pub is more than a pub to many people, adding: “In Missenden, the pub is the heart of the community.”

The Chesham and Amersham Liberal Democrats said in a statement: “The importance of hospitality businesses like The Drawingroom and The Crown Inn to local communities is clear.

“Yet up and down the country, such businesses face a huge strain.

“Almost 10,000 pubs, clubs and restaurants have closed permanently in the last year, and thousands more are at risk.

“Sadly, behind every statistic is a local landlord whose livelihood and security has collapsed, workers who have lost their jobs, chefs who have lost their customers, suppliers who have lost their trade.”

Mr Davey is calling on the government to introduce a ‘pub bailout programme’, which would see struggling pubs able to claim up to 80 per cent of their rental costs from the government depending on their turnover.