The Chancellor of the Exchequer faced criticism from Ryanair this afternoon, as the budget airline urged him to return to the UK and help out ailing businesses.
Hospitality and tourism firms have been calling on Sunak to bring back pandemic support measures, as they face waves of cancellations amid a surge of Omicron cases before Christmas.
In a tweet, airline Ryanair shared a graphic of Sunak on a Californian beach, urging him to “come back and help out,” a play on the Treasury’s subsidised meals scheme from summer 2020.
“It’s not often we plug our rivals, but there’s plenty of flights from California back to the UK if you’ve got urgent business to attend to,” the brand said.
Economic secretary John Glenn has said that Sunak will speak to hospitality firms in the UK from California to “hear their concerns” about the need for further financial support.
A spokesperson for Sunak told The Guardian newspaper that the Chancellor had travelled to the US to meet tech and investment leaders with a “packed schedule of meetings”.
Sunak is expected back in London on Friday, as pub bosses say the trade is readying to lose out on £297m in trade this Christmas.
What’s more, over 3m bookings in pubs were cancelled last week alone, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
Shadow health secretary, Wes Streeting, called on the government to help businesses “having a hard time at the moment.”
He said: “We understand the chancellor is currently out of the country in California. So perhaps he might want to get himself on a flight back and get a grip on the situation, because businesses need certainty and confidence now.”