Cumbria Tourism is welcoming the new package of financial measures announced by the Chancellor today to help protect jobs and improve cashflow for businesses, as the tourism and hospitality sector heads into the challenging winter period.

With four months of business already lost, significantly reduced capacity and spending down, the county’s official Destination Management Organisation (DMO) is pleased the Government has responded to both Cumbria Tourism and the wider industry’s pleas for continued intervention to help businesses through the continuing uncertainty and ever-evolving restrictions they are now facing.

Cumbria Tourism’s latest research, revealed last week, shows that business confidence levels have been plummeting and it has been urgently calling for this type of winter support package at the highest levels of government.

Gill Haigh, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, says, “The devil is in the detail, but we  are pleased that today’s statement acknowledges the very specific challenges for the tourism sector, given that businesses were unable to open for almost four months in the usually buoyant summer season and are now facing the longer-term impact of a £1.5billion loss to Cumbria’s tourism industry amid continuing restrictions and uncertainty.

 “Initial responses from our member businesses suggest the new measures should have a positive effect on cashflow for many tourism operators. The continued reduction in VAT will be particularly welcomed, there is good news for those who have taken out Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and it’s great to see employers being actively supported to bring people back to work. We are certainly looking forward to hearing more detail about today’s announcement, particularly around the new successor loan scheme planned for January.

At the same time, we need to recognise that there are concerns it may be too late for some businesses, and some will continue to find it difficult to access the new measures and there is a question mark over what happens if there is another national lockdown. This is something we will be monitoring closely.

“Cumbria Tourism’s research team will be continuing its in-depth business tracker research over the coming months to ensure we have strong, up-to-date information about the impact of the new measures. We can then use this evidence to directly inform national decision-makers and make the strongest possible case for Cumbria if additional targeted support is needed further down the line.”

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