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‘We’re lucky to be here... we must be patient to survive’

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MORE time is needed to discuss the introduction of a grant scheme, say tourism leaders.

Ashraf Elsergany, manager and executive chef at the Saints Bay Hotel. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28432077)

It was revealed that industry opposition had led to Policy & Resources rolling back its £6.5m. scheme for hotels, guest houses and self-catering establishments, with leaders stating a week is not enough time to take in the details.

There is wide support for the grant scheme to help the industry through what some have described as its second of three winters in a row, without a profitable summer inbetween.

Saints Bay Hotel’s manager and executive chef Ashraf Elsergany said he was grateful for any government support.

‘It’s a really good idea and I think the States have done a really good job,’ he said.

‘We’ve had strong island support for all businesses and we’re lucky to be here and although businesses are struggling, there are other jurisdictions that are less fortunate than ourselves.

‘We’re Covid-19 free, we’re being given support by people that have worked hard throughout the crisis to get us here and I think we should appreciate that.’

Mr Elsergany said that although they were still waiting for support for the payroll co-funding scheme, he understood that it might take some time.

‘We have to be patient, we should all try and lower costs through what we can do, like using electricity less and sharing more,’ he said.

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‘I brought all my staff in the island to stay at the hotel while lockdown was happening so we could do just that and we’ve been a community just like Guernsey is.

‘The £6.5m. is enough, if it means we can only have bread and cheese instead of a rack of lamb then that is what we must do. We must not be greedy and be patient and frugal to survive, we’re all in this together.’

Alan and Aine Sillett run the Duke of Normandie and are joint heads of the Chamber of Commerce’s hospitality group. They appreciated the fast turnaround of the situation and what P&R had been able to provide.

‘We’re thankful for all the support all accommodation has been given,’ said Mr Sillett.

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‘However, it’s a big issue and we’ve had to look at it at such late notice.

‘The rates eligibility are a little unclear at this point and it has created a lot of stress and uncertainty, especially because it would be replacing the payroll co-funding scheme, which we know how it works.’

He said they would like to be able to have more details by the end of July, before its new date of introduction on 1 October.

‘It was a shock for some in the industry to be told about the scheme just a week ago,’ he said.

‘We want to be able to have time to look at it properly in more detail and have more certainty about who is eligible for what and how to apply.’

The grant scheme will be delayed to allow further discussions with the industry.

The payroll co-funding scheme, under which they can apply for either 80% or 100% of the minimum wage for employees depending on the extent to which the business is impacted, will continue in the meantime.

Danielle Kenneally

By Danielle Kenneally
News reporter

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