As the government spends £4.8 billion levelling up infrastructure across the UK, the MP for St Austell and Newquay Steve Double lays down the case for significant support for hospitality and tourism due to their regional importance to coastal towns.
The regional importance of the hospitality and tourism sectors should make them a significant part of the government’s levelling up agenda, says Steve Double, chair of the APPG for Hospitality and Tourism.
The MP for St Austell and Newquay noted that the value of hospitality and tourism has been clear over the last few weeks, with the partial reopening of hospitality businesses revitalising high streets and communities right across the country. However, for all the optimism around reopening, Double believes both industries are still facing a perilous future after over a year of limited trade.
Given the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality and tourism sectors, he says it is unsurprising that the economic impacts of the pandemic are, and will continue to be, felt most keenly in constituencies like his, with a higher proportion of hospitality and tourism jobs.
“For all the optimism around reopening, both industries are still facing a perilous future after over a year of limited trade. A return to profitability is estimated to still be six months off even after all restrictions are removed,” he continued.
“Over the last year the government has invested a lot in hospitality and tourism, including several measures in the recent Budget. This is both a recognition of the economic and employment importance of the sectors as well as an acknowledgement of the role that they will play in rebuilding the economy after the pandemic. Current support has undoubtedly saved many thousands of businesses and potentially millions of jobs. But to turbocharge recovery three key areas for support have been identified.”
The first of these support measures is the permanent reduction in the rate of VAT, second is businesses rates reform, and third is a resolution to the issue of debt built up during the crisis within the sector. Double acknowledges all these measures come at a cost, but he believes the reward for investing in hospitality and tourism is an industry that can help the economy undergo a much needed recovery.