Thank you very much for your email. I totally agree with you regarding the importance of supporting the tourism and hospitality sectors through and beyond this Covid-19 crisis.
As the MP for Penrith and The Border, I am doing everything I can in Westminster and Cumbria to address the concerns of my constituents. I am feeding in requests to Government for support for all areas of our economy and community and will continue to do so. Equally, I am feeding in to Government regularly and pushing for more flexibility and breadth in the very welcome support schemes that the Government has introduced during this crisis.
The Government is working tirelessly to support businesses to get through these challenging and unprecedented circumstances caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. I have pushed for more flexibility in the furlough scheme and the business grants and have been really heartened that the Chancellor has responded, so that more people and businesses can be covered. I was especially pleased that the Government responded to my calls for more flexibility and discretion to be allowed in the allocation of grants to include businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector such as bed and breakfasts.
Please know I have raised and continue to raise these important issues and am very aware of the importance of the hospitality sector to our local and indeed UK economy (not to mention the positive benefits you provide to the holidaying public).
I include below the link to my speech from last week in the Covid-19 debate for your interest; you can see my repeated reference to support for your sector.
That said, I am pleased that, following the publication of the UK’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, hospitality businesses can anticipate a phased re-opening of their businesses from no earlier than July 2020. This will only be possible if the criteria to move to the next step or the Recovery Strategy have been met, including a low rate of transmission. When these businesses re-open, their premises will have to meet COVID-19 Secure Guidelines, which includes carrying out a risk assessment to protect the safety of employees and customers.
To help hospitality businesses during these challenging times, several financial support schemes have been created. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and a business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors for 2020-2021.
Furthermore, to give immediate support to businesses, I was pleased that the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) was established. Under the RHLG, eligible businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount with a rateable value up to and including £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000 and eligible businesses with a rateable value of over £15,000 but less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
I will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise specific concerns of business sectors with my Ministerial colleagues.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me and please keep safe.
With best wishes