Blackpool’s Conservative MPs have today called on the Government to save Blackpool's tourism sector and step up support for the town’s entertainment and hospitality industry in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many firms and self-employed workers in the town are already benefiting from the broad range of packages. However, there are some companies and individuals who are finding it more difficult to find support due to the nature of their businesses.
The Scottish Government this week announced a £20 million Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund to target businesses who have fallen down the gaps. MPs for Blackpool North and Cleveleys and Blackpool South, Paul Maynard and Scott Benton, are now calling on Ministers in Westminster to deliver a similar scheme for England and Wales.
Mr Maynard said: “The Government has been ambitious with the support it is giving, but I am finding the guidance isn't helping when it comes to more difficult cases. The Government wants to help these businesses, but the tight rules mean they don't qualify.
“There are companies here in Blackpool which do not have access to grants, either because they only service the hospitality sector, they are concessions or sub-let parts of a property and who don't pay rates, they are hospitality businesses based from home or simply because they can't meet the criteria to access funds like the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.
“I know from my caseload how much our community would benefit from a specific and discretionary package for the tourism and hospitality sector. I believe such a scheme is vital to plug the gaps constituents are telling me about.”
Mr Benton added: “Tourism has always been the life and soul of Blackpool. It is absolutely vital the Government considers targeted support and recognises that, by their nature, these enterprises and entrepreneurs don’t always fit into the funding boxes which have been created.”
Mr Maynard, supported by Mr Benton is asking that the Treasury give consideration to a specific and discretionary deal for tourism and hospitality sector businesses which are not eligible for alternative funding.
Mr Maynard said: “I know there are many companies in our town already benefiting from the measures the Government has taken. But we need to ensure we are doing all we can to support each and every business in our town, to protect our local economy and ensure there are jobs for people to return to.”