Cumbria Tourism says the additional financial support announced today by the Chancellor is welcome news, but more detail is needed – and there is still great anxiety about the prospect of new restrictions.

Rishi Sunak has this afternoon confirmed a package of measures to support tourism and hospitality businesses experiencing a sharp decline in customers amid growing concern about the impact of the Omicron variant and the Government’s move to Plan B.

This includes one-off grants of up to £6,000 for eligible businesses, a top-up for the Additional Restrictions Grants distributed by local authorities and further funding for the Cultural Recovery Fund to support theatres and museums. The statutory sick pay rebate scheme will also be reintroduced for Covid-related absences of up to two weeks.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, says, “This package of measures is welcomed – and there looks to be some useful support for Cumbrian businesses – but we do really need to see the detail, in terms of which businesses will benefit and how quickly they can access funding.

 “As we don’t yet know what restrictions are on the way, it is extremely difficult to assess what the precise impact of this latest support will be for tourism operators. A massive amount of resource and planning goes into the Christmas and New Year period and businesses rely on this income to see them through the traditionally quieter winter months. So clear direction is now urgently needed on what to plan for.

 “The tourism and hospitality industry is currently in a very fragile state and collectively we must do all we can to ensure these businesses remain viable. We are pleased the Government has acknowledged that support is needed, but it remains to be seen whether today’s announcement is enough to see businesses through.”

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