Traders fear even the £5bn intervention of Chancellor Rishi Sunak may not be enough to save Southend’s struggling tourism sector.

The town’s tourism and hospitality sectors were badly impacted by the UK-wide lockdown in the spring but were boosted by a summer heatwave which saw thousands of daytrippers descend on the town.

But their future remains even more uncertain after PM Boris Johnson announced a 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants, which took affect from last night.

But yesterday Chancellor Mr Sunak outlined his plans to target help towards the sectors - such as tourism and hospitality - where it is most needed.

As part of his plans, he extended a VAT cut from January to March which means cafés, hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants will pay just 5 per cent rather than the usual 20 per cent.

A new job support scheme - which will replace the widely-used furlough scheme - will see the Government top up the wages of people working at least a third of their normal hours.

They will be paid for that work as normal, with the state and employers then increasing those wages to cover two-thirds of the pay they have lost by working reduced hours.

Business which have taken out Government-backed loans during the height of the pandemic will also be given more freedom to make repayments and over a longer period.

But Southend traders fear it may not be enough.

Joan Tiney, who runs The Borough Hotel on the seafront, said: “It’s not as good as I first thought - we don’t know how much it’ll help as the employers have to help fit the bill of wages too.

“The VAT changes don’t help us either as we don’t sell most of the items it covers. I think any help is good but this isn’t much help for us.

“We really do need all the help we can get, we’ve suffered with the first lockdown, now the fireworks displays are cancelled too.”

The 70-year-old added: “We don’t know what’s going to happen or how anything will work.”

Fellow trader Paul Thompson, of Pebbles One Cafe, said: “The VAT is very pleasing and obviously very good but we need to see the full details of the job retention scheme to know how it’ll help.

“I think he could have gone further with extending the VAT discount and I don’t know if these changes are enough.

“We’ve had bad times and winter seems to be here now and it’s going to be tough again.”

The Chancellor told MPs: “The resurgence of the virus, and the measures we need to take in response, pose a threat to our fragile economic recovery.”

And he acknowledged “we can’t save every business” and “we can’t save every job”.

Mr Sunak also said people must learn to live with coronavirus and “live without fear”.

The Chancellor said: “We have so often spoke of this virus in terms of lives lost, but the price our country is paying is wider than that.

“And as we think about the next few weeks and months, we need to bear all of those costs in mind.