5th March 2021
Supply chains (England) – DCMS Minister Nigel Huddleston repeated in Parliament yesterday (in a debate on golf tourism) that the Government expected local councils to award discretionary grants to businesses in the hospitality and leisure supply chains. He used the same words that are contained in the updated advice to local authorities here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/966854/20210304_Additional_Restrictions_Grant_-_LA_guidance.pdf
As previously mentioned, Local Authorities have been given more money for these discretionary grants. In total its over £1 billion. My advice remains to be persistent in your conversations with your local authority. Members have managed to persuade councils to give them more money than originally offered. I appreciate we are talking thousands rather than tens of thousands.
Wales – The Welsh government has confirmed that rates relief for retail leisure and hospitality businesses (which includes seaside arcades), as in Scotland, will be extended at 100% for another twelve months.
Lobbying – It has been a very busy few weeks in England, Scotland and Wales lobbying for our key asks. In Scotland and in Wales officials have made recommendations on re-opening and extra support to their respective Cabinets. We will get some news next week. You will also be aware that we have opened up a legal challenge to the English Government over its discriminatory treatment off AGCs with regards to our re-opening date and we have started another round of intense lobbying on the 5% VAT rate for seaside arcades. We will be again asking members to get their MPs rallied to the cause as we launch an official petition probably early next week seeking to achieve enough signatures for an official government response and hopefully debate on both AGC re-opening and the VAT rate.
Today we met again with Welsh Government officials and later will be sitting down, virtually, with Labour Opposition Gambling and Tourism Shadow Minister, Alex Sobel. Next week we have meetings with three MPs in Sheryl Murray, Damien Moore and Sally-Ann Hart. We also have an introductory meeting with two new Directors at DCMS as well as a call with Scottish Cabinet Secretary for tourism, Fergus Ewing.