Cumbria Tourism is calling on the county’s MPs to back calls for government assistance for the sector in the wake of the impact of Plan B.
After a disastrous first part to the year, when lockdown and restrictions closed businesses, the summer period saw strong demand across the county, albeit frustrated by staff shortages forcing many businesses to reduce normal service and therefore ability to recoup lost income.
Christmas and New Year is always an important time for tourism and hospitality businesses and the last main opportunity for them to generate income to help see them through the traditionally quieter winter period. After two very difficult years this festive season was more critical than ever, but with the arrival of the new variant and the Government implementation of Plan B and associated messaging, many businesses have seen a sharp downturn in demand over recent days.
This is causing significant concern within the industry and Cumbria Tourism has written to the county’s six MPs, urging them to back cross industry asks and, in doing so, help protect Cumbria’s tourism sector and its workers after another extremely difficult year.
The key asks include:
- An extension of the discounted VAT rate to stretch beyond its scheduled end date of March 2022
- Business Rates due in the first quarter to be deferred
- An instruction from Government to councils to release grants and rates relief to those in need
Commenting, Managing Director, Gill Haigh said: “We can be proud of Cumbria’s tourism industry’s resilience and readiness to adapt, always ensuring community, staff and visitor safety is a priority. We are also grateful to Government for all its support to help keep many heads above water. However, the impact of the reaction to the Omicron variant is creating serious anxiety for businesses who have not been able to recover and we are therefore urging our MPs to add their support to calls for government intervention and emergency support.”