Northumberland publican welcomes Chancellor's new grant support for hospitality businesses

Hospitality and tourism businesses in Northumberland have welcomed support measures announced in the budget.

By Ian Smith
Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 4:38 pm

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced grants of up to £18,000 for hospitality and leisure businesses and extended the furlough scheme and temporary 5% rate of VAT until the end of September.

In addition, the business rates holiday, which was due to expire at the end of March, has been extended until the end of June.

Publican Jake Castleman, who runs the Pig in Muck in Alnwick and The Cock and Bull in Amble, said: “It’s a budget to be welcomed.

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Publican Jake Castleman.

"The grant support is great news, although we won’t get the full £18,000, and the extension of the furlough scheme is very much welcomed.

"I see it as a positive furlough announcement this time. Last time it was extended I think everyone knew that the pubs were going to be closed but this time around there’s not the doom and gloom so the extension will be of assistance.

"We’re reopening the Pig in Muck on April 12 with the launch of a food operation so the 5% VAT rate will help on that, as well as sales of soft drinks. It’ll not help at Amble though where we don’t serve food.

"As a business we get rate relief already but it’ll be great news for the wider pub industry that the business rates holiday continues until June.”

At Seafield Caravan Park in Seahouses, owner Carolyn Britton welcomed news that the 5% reduced rate of VAT for tourism and hospitality will be extended – even though it could provide her with a bookings headache.

She said: “When that was in place until the end of March we passed that saving on to our customers through a special offer to anyone who booked up and paid in advance so I’m not sure what that will mean if it’s going to be in place until the end of September.”

It is due to open from April 12, as is Walkmill Campsite at Guyzance, near Warkworth.

Owner Claire Gillingham said: “I’m not sure what the budget will mean for us but the demand for bookings from April 12 has been incredible. The level of interest we’ve had for the first three weeks in August is also unprecedented.”

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