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Cumbria Tourism and MP meet with Tourism minister to make case for business winter support

November 3, 2020 7:26 PM

This afternoon, South Lakes MP Tim Farron and Cumbria Tourism's Managing Director Gill Haigh met with Tourism Minister Nigel Huddleston to make the case for business and wage support for hospitality and tourism businesses over the upcoming winter months.

The minister heard that less than half (43%) of tourism businesses in Cumbria are confident about surviving the next six months, with just one in four (24%) confident in being able to survive the next 12-24 months according to the latest survey from Cumbria Tourism.

Meanwhile over one in five (22%) businesses say they are planning to make redundancies.

Tim and Gill asked the minister to support jobs and businesses by extending the furlough scheme and the grants for businesses through to next Easter and by providing financial support to those who have fallen through the cracks of the Government's previous schemes.

Tim said: "Hospitality and tourism businesses have been the first to close and the last able to reopen throughout this crisis.

"They really need that extra financial support to navigate these tricky winter months and take them through to the Spring when - virus permitting - they will be able to stand on their own two feet again.

"I'm really grateful to the minister for meeting with us to hear our concerns - he was really sympathetic to our case and has agreed to have discussions with the Treasury to look at what more support could be given to help local jobs and businesses."

Gill Haigh said: "Cumbria Tourism's research, which covered the 10 days before the second lockdown announcement, demonstrates how fragile and exhausted our sector is feeling eight months into the pandemic.

"Businesses and individuals have invested and worked tirelessly to manage, adapt and provide fantastic Covid safe experiences since reopening in July but are once again they are facing huge uncertainty.

"These incredible businesses make up an industry that is a major part of Cumbria's economy, supporting 65,000 jobs and contributing over £3m annually. It is critical that we act now to protect jobs and communities and to provide the confidence businesses need to help them survive the winter months, plan for the future and continue to provide first class visitor services that contribute so importantly to our local economy.

"The Minister was grateful for the real time evidence Cumbria Tourism's businesses have provided throughout the pandemic and was clear that it has helped to shape government policy. We hope this latest evidence will help to inform and shape the longer term ask we are seeking."