BOSSES of an award-winning Rawtenstall bar say the Government’s last-minute U-turn on plans to to stop publicans and microbreweries selling takeaway alcohol is good news for the industry.

Official guidelines stated that although restaurants, bars and pubs must close from Thursday, food takeaway and delivery services are still permitted – but serving alcohol to takeaway was not.

However, on Tuesday night it was revealed MPs would vote on Wednesday for takeaway alcohol ­— but only if it is pre-ordered online or via phone or post and as long as people do not enter the premises to collect.

Mike Jones and his wife Amanda have been in charge of the Casked Ale House and Emporium for almost three years and say the move is a step in the right direction and would help some pubs, bars and microbreweries to ‘continue to stay afloat’.

Mr Jones, 56, said: “We stopped trading as a bar a couple of weeks ago before the move from Tier 2 to 3.

"We decided it was too much grief and harder with the curfew and then everyone had to wear masks.

“Instead we decided to get the delivery service up and running which had served us well in the summer.

“I welcome the news about the pre-orders as it would have been very unfortunate if the Government had stuck to their guns on principle of not allowing takeaway orders and it would have been a slap in the face to the trade.

“We may not be able to get people passing by and seeing that we are doing takeaway and buying on an impulse but we are hoping if we can put posters up and also online then people will be able to buy on their phone.

“It is quite late for the Government to make this decision as we have waited for three days to hear if anything is going to be done. Now we will be scrabbling to get ready for it but the news will help cover the cracks so I welcome it.”

Mr Jones added that he thinks the original plans would have badly affected the trade.

He said: “If it had stayed as it was then some would have been wasting gallons of beer as they would not have been able to sell it. It will mean we get £500 a week in turnover to cover the basic costs and at least it will give us money to stay afloat.”

Meanwhile Josh Vine, director of Northern Whisper, Colne, said: “We did alright last time as we were able to switch and empty cask beer into bottling and kegs so our wastage was minimal.

“It just depends how long things go on for. We don’t think we will be able to open this year and it may be the spring before we can run properly.”