Britain is in recession, employment levels are at their lowest for decades and coronavirus is continuing to keep its stranglehold on efforts to drive an economic fight-back. Acutely aware of the warning signs, Bacta has launched an industry-wide campaign to bring the message home to the legislators: Save Our Seaside.
Bacta has launched a nationwide campaign to highlight the plight of the British seaside arcade, which has been particularly hard-hit during lockdown.
Unveiled on Wednesday this week, the Save Our Seaside programme calls on all businesses in the sector, from arcadians to their all-important supply chain, to persuade government figures and parliamentarians to deliver policies to ease the economic burdens that are pushing many businesses close to the edge.
Whilst public attention is currently fixed on heatwaves and staycation trips to the coast and country, this enthusiasm masks the plight of Britain’s seaside amusement arcade businesses. According to the Bacta announcement, these businesses “lost their Easter trading due to lockdown and re-opened late in the summer season – first in England and more recently in Wales. In Scotland, however, arcades are still waiting for a reopening date – meaning they will have seen no meaningful income since September 2019.”
The warning is stark: “The winter looks bleak.” “We are calling upon Bacta members to write to their local MPs to highlight the situation and ask for some help to keep their businesses alive,” advised the association’s chief executive John White. “Many seaside communities rely upon our members’ businesses for local employment as well as to provide fun attractions for visitors. If they were to close, the result for the local economies would be devastating.” Bacta has prepared a briefing document and has written to a number of coastal MPs who it has identified as ‘seaside champions’ and is asking for a number of concessions to help seaside arcades survive including:
• A reduction in Machine Games Duty (MGD) and VAT to 5 percent
• Ongoing rates relief beyond lockdown
• Increased funds for tourism support
“The seasides are an essential part of British culture and it is essential we highlight the plight of seaside towns of which amusement arcades are such an essential part,” White concluded.