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Government financial assistance sought to minimise coronavirus impact

UK travel trade association UKinbound has formally requested financial assistance from the government to help the tourism and hospitality industry to combat the impact of coronavirus.

“This is a very stressful and worrying time for the UK tourism industry and travel and tourism worldwide,” Joss Croft, CEO of UKinbound said. The association has more than 400 members from across the travel trade.

Ahead of Wednesday’s budget, the UK travel trade association has repeated calls for a pause on business rates for a minimum of three months and any quarantined area to have business rates abolished for the period of non-trading.

Other requests for financial assistance include a payment delay on taxes such as VAT and PAYE to ease cash flow and also availability of low or interest-free loans to cover trade disruption.

“A lot of our members have been massively impacted by COVID-19 and the real worry is that businesses could go under if this situation continues as there are minimal bookings for the normally busy spring and summer months. We are hoping that Government will do the right thing in the Budget this week and provide financial support for businesses that are currently struggling with cash flow and business payments, in order to tide them over until this crisis has abated.

“We also continue to urge our members to be as lenient as possible with each other with regards to their cancellation policies, as we know that in the coming months there will be a huge pent up demand for travel to the UK.”

HBAA chair Lex Butler has also requested financial support from the Chancellor of the Exchequer to encourage more people to join the events industry, which is “under financial pressure as a consequence of cancellations linked to coronavirus, while major venues may need to recruit more staff as a result of the introduction of Martyn’s law.

“This is a major industry that contributes substantially to the British economy. We’re working hard to recruit more UK based talent to build careers in this sector but we’ll not be able to replace all the migrant workers by the time the regulations come into place.

“Financial incentives and support are vital to attract people of all ages into this sector and to train them. It’s now urgent.”