James Wild MP has called on the government to provide more support for the tourism and hospitality industry in West Norfolk.
Many vibrant local businesses are suffering, and there are fears that the tourism sector could be hit harder and for longer by the current economic shutdown.
Over 80 MPs have signed a letter to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, urging him to take further steps to protect jobs and businesses in the tourism industry.
James Wild MP, said -
Tourism is a vital part of West Norfolk's economy with visitors coming to enjoy our wonderful coastline, heritage and countryside.
The government has put in place welcome measures to support tourism and hospitality businesses but the lockdown has hit firms hard when pubs, restaurants, and attractions should be booming.
After listening to businesses across West Norfolk, I’m supporting further measures to protect more jobs and ensure that firms can bounce back once restrictions can be eased. I look forward to the day when we can once again safely welcome visitors to West Norfolk.”
The MPs' letter contained several proposals, including:
- raising the current business rate relief threshold to £150,000;
- reducing VAT on the sector to 5%;
- calling for the government's furlough scheme to be extended beyond the end of lockdown, as well as a more flexible approach that allows employees working for sites like holiday parks to keep up minimal (but vital) maintenance throughout their leave; and
- tailored support for B&Bs and other businesses who might not otherwise receive support.
The first few weeks of the season have already been wiped out by the viris and today the organisers of the Hunstanton Tennis Tournament had to make the difficult decision to cancel this year's event. The annual tournament usually attracts thousands of competitors and visitors to the resort every August and will be sadly missed. Other events, including the Sandringham Flower Show, have already been cancelled.
The tourism and hospitality sector is already benefitting from support including: hospitality, leisure, and retail grants of up to £25,000; a 12 month business rate holiday, the furlough job retention scheme; Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme; relaxation of planning rules for restaurants and pubs to offer takeaway and delivery services; and Bounce Back Loans which launched this week.