Govt urged to put travel companies at front of queue for Business Rates Relief Fund

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By Lisa James
Home » Govt urged to put travel companies at front of queue for Business Rates Relief Fund

The Tourism Alliance has urged the Government to make sure the £1.5bn Business Rates Relief Fund is allocated to travel and events-dependent businesses without delay.

This funding was originally announced by the Chancellor on 25 March 2021, but the legislation that will enable its release should finally complete its parliamentary stages in the House of Lords today.

Previous statements made by Chancellor and the Housing Secretary have said that the funds will be targeted towards those businesses most impacted by COVID-19.

The Alliance – the umbrella body made up of trade bodies across the tourism sector – has written to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove to say tourism businesses should be front of the queue.

It says the Government must support provide clear guidance to local authorities which recommends they prioritise businesses in these sectors, and is asking for support to cover business rates across the entire period since March 2020, and through to the end of the next financial year in March 2023.

It adds that continuing support into the next financial year, at very least at 50% levels, is required to match the commitments already given to retail companies. If more funding is required to do this, the Alliance says the Chancellor must make that available as quickly as possible.

Tourism Alliance Director Kurt Jansen said: “This funding could make a huge difference to tourism businesses, many of whom have been overlooked for other grants and support, so it is vital that these businesses get this help.

“Ministers have previously said this money should be prioritised for the sectors who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, as an industry that has suffered far more than most, travel should be a priority for this spending.”

ABTA Director of Public Affairs Luke Petherbridge said: “We’re nearing two years of travel being significantly curbed by the pandemic. We were the first sector to be affected by the virus, and as the latest developments have shown, we will be the last to recover. Throughout these difficult years financial support for the sector has been woeful – with no specific funding and companies often excluded from general support.

The Government has an opportunity here to make sure that money – which has already been found to support businesses – gets to travel businesses.”

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