Region’s MPs call on chancellor to help tourism industry recover from coronavirus pandemic
PUBLISHED: 13:57 03 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:57 03 May 2020
Four of the region’s MPs are calling for greater government support to help the tourism industry recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 80 MPs including North Norfolk’s Duncan Baker. North West Norfolk’s James Wild, Waveney’s Peter Aldous and Broadland’s Jerome Mayhew have signed a letter to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, urging him to provide additional support.
The letter sets out the importance of the tourism and hospitality sectors, which play a significant role in the UK economy, providing £3.1m and £3.2m supported jobs respectively, as well as contributing billions of pounds to the local and national economies.
While welcoming the measures already in place, the MPs call for the chancellor to consider taking temporary measures to safeguard the sectors.
One of the calls is to extend the business rate relief threshold up to £150,000 while the MPs also want an extension of the furlough scheme beyond the end of the lockdown and to make it more flexible.
The letter continues: “Given the welcome steps of the HMRC to defer VAT payments, we ask you to go further and explore the viability of offering either a year or a quarterly VAT rebate from either 2029 or 2018.”
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The group also wants the chancellor to reduce the rate of VAT on tourism to 5pc to bring the rate in-line with other European nations and allow businesses to offer more competitive prices, protect jobs, and support local economies when these sectors are reopened.
MORE: How businesses in one Norfolk town are coping during lockdown
The last call is to tailor support, as it says a number of businesses have fallen through the cracks and are unable to benefit from the government’s support measures.
It adds: “Aside from the above ideas on further financial support, it is crucial that there is flexibility in operational arrangements for businesses in these sectors reopening after the crisis, as has been the case in other countries.
“We urge the government to engage with these sectors to explore methods of operation that safeguard the health and safety of employees and patrons.
“It is vital that businesses in these sectors have time to prepare for reopening and adjust to the post lockdown normal.”
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