On the basis that something is better than nothing, Bacta has welcomed government support for the seaside but a £6m Welcome Back Fund really is a drop in the ocean.
The government has launched a new fund intended to boost England’s high streets, and support coastal areas. £6m of the £56m Welcome Back Fund will go to coastal resorts across the country to prepare for the expected influx of hospitality hungry staycationers.
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick, who has identified the first local authorities across England to receive the funding, said: “Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.”
“As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we’ve been missing so much.”
Bacta CEO John White gave a cautious welcome to the initiative, stating: “Whilst a drop in the ocean, of the things we have suggested this fund at least acknowledges that additional support is needed, and I would hope we can build on it to get local councils investing in local towns both to the benefit of visitors and residents alike.”
“One of the points we have been making both before and throughout the pandemic on the back of our Save our Seaside campaign, is just how important seaside arcades are to local coastal economies providing jobs and local economic contributions to some of the most deprived parts of the country.
“Directly and indirectly, we are responsible for nearly £2 billion in turnover, over £1 billion in Gross Value Added and over 27,000 jobs. We have explained how a 5 percent VAT cut on amusement machines, addressing car parking charges and looking at how Destination Management Organisations can get people to the coast are all important parts of how we can transition to the sort of sustainable coastal communities envisioned in Lord Bassam’s Report into coastal communities two years ago.”