For the second time in one month, Buckinghamshire Business First members within the tourism and hospitality sector spoke directly with MPs to discuss the support they need to survive and thrive beyond the pandemic.
On March 2nd, tourism and hospitality businesses attended a Sector Briefing with Nigel Huddleston MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, to talk about how the pandemic has affected their sector in Buckinghamshire.
Also in attendance were:
- Rob Butler MP for Aylesbury
- Joy Morrissey MP for Beaconsfield
- Greg Smith MP for Buckingham
- Steve Baker MP for Wycombe
- Buckinghamshire Council
Concerns raised by businesses included:
- The effect of the pandemic on inbound tourism. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have each created a fund to specifically support tourism organisers (tour operators, destination management companies etc.) and yet England has not.
- Recovery for tourism and hospitality businesses being much longer than for other businesses. The International Air Travel Association (IATA) predict that not until 2024 will business be back to 2019 levels for companies in the sector.
- Concerns over the Job Retention Scheme (furlough) ending. (The event took place before the Budget, which announced an extension of the furlough scheme until September 30th 2021)
Budget 2021 overview
The Chancellor’s Budget, delivered on March 3rd, outlined measures designed to support leisure, tourism and hospitality businesses, including:
- grants of up to £18,000 for hospitality and leisure businesses under the Restart Grant scheme
- an extension of the 5% reduced rate of VAT for tourism and hospitality businesses
Read our overview of the announcements affecting businesses in the Budget.
This Tourism Sector Briefing follows last month’s meeting between local tourism and hospitality businesses with the county’s five MPs, where the impact of the pandemic and specific issues facing businesses were discussed. Read an overview of the issues raised at the event.