Support for visitor sector ‘to exceed £6.5m. estimate’

SUPPORT for the visitor accommodation sector this winter will outstrip initial estimates of £6.5m., Policy & Resources has said.

Policy & Resources vice-president Lyndon Trott. (28731728)
Policy & Resources vice-president Lyndon Trott. (28731728)

The committee will not be able to begin all payments at the start of October as initially indicated as the process for determining exactly how the sector will be helped is ongoing.

It comes following an ongoing independent review after initial plans for a scheme were met with resistance from sector businesses.

The committee will now offer those visitor accommodation businesses which have recently submitted claims for financial support from October onwards a choice in how that support is provided.

They have said that businesses will be offered either some form of payroll funding or a grant, but not exactly what that entails.

P&R vice-president Lyndon Trott, who leads on the Covid-19 financial support measures, said they had listened and worked with businesses to deliver a solution that meets their needs.

‘I hope the decision to give a choice on how they receive support shows that we have [listened and worked with them] and reassures any that had concerns over how they would cope over the coming months,’ he said.

‘So far the States has provided more than £40m. in support to businesses across a wide range of sectors since the beginning of the pandemic, which is an enormous sum that would have been unimaginable even a year ago.

‘That has been the right thing to do and provided a lifeline to many local businesses, but we must also be mindful at all times that all of that support comes from the taxpayer and is intended to help ensure viable businesses can get back to

trading at close to their normal levels as soon as the current travel restrictions are lifted.’

The initial analysis carried out by the States in June had estimated the level of support for the sector to cover July 2020 to March 2021 at £6.5m., but having received the actual claims and the need to cover

the two options will mean this will be exceeded.

This revised cost is subject to the review being completed and the details of the scheme being finalised.

In addition, the ongoing analysis will also inform the appropriate grant levels available for properties with different star ratings.

Businesses in this sector have already made their applications for support for October onwards and there are 52 that will continue to receive financial support.

P&R has said it is confident the first payments under the new grant and payroll schemes will still happen before the end of October, although in the case of payroll support this would be paid in arrears as is currently the case.

Access to the current payroll scheme finishes on 30 September. It provided for either 80% or 100% of the minimum wage for employees depending on the extent to which the business is impacted.

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